Category Archives: Closed World Principle

Innovation Sighting: LG’s New Smart Vacuum Doubles as a Home Security System

LG VacuumThe rush to put new technology in the home is heating up like never before. Challengers include Amazon (Echo), Google (Home), and soon we'll have Apple's Siri device. Microsoft can't be far behind.

Now here's a completely different take on home technology, and it's a perfect example of the Task Unification Technique, one of five in the S.I.T. innovation method. Task Unification is defined as: assigning an additional task to an existing resource. That resource should be in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we call The Closed World. In essence, it's taking something that is already around you and giving an additional job. The new LG Hom-Bot robotic vacuum does just that. Here's a report from Architectural Digest:

Looking to buy a security system for your home? Consider a vacuum.

LG's newest Hom-Bot robotic vacuum, available this month, merges cleaning and home security into one smartphone-controlled system.

In addition to sweeping up dust and crumbs, the Hom-Bot has front and top-facing cameras that can be accessed through its app at any time. In a true representation of the "smart" vacuum, once it's become accustomed to your home, the Hom-Bot will also automatically snap photos and message them to you if it detects movement in an area of the home or at a time of the day when activity is unusual.

A square-ish rather than rounded shape allows it to edge into tighter corners, and its cameras not only act as a safety measure but also help it more accurately map the room to achieve an efficient cleaning route. Its final feature is a sure appeal to a millennial audience: The vacuum is a rose-hued shade of "metallic gold."

LG's Hom-Bot Turbo+ costs $999 but additional models without cameras retail for $799 and $699.

 To get the most out of the Task Unification technique, you follow five basic steps:

  1. List all of the components, both internal and external, that are part of the Closed World of the product, service, or process.
  2. Select a component from the list. Assign it an additional task, using one of three methods:
  • Choose an external component and use it to perform a task that the product accomplishes already
  • Choose an internal component and make it do something new or extra
  • Choose an internal component and make it perform the function of an external component, effectively “stealing” the external component’s function
  1. Visualize the new (or changed) products or services.
  2. What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?
  3. If you decide the new product or service is valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create these new products? Perform these new services? Why or why not? Is there any way to refine or adapt the idea to make it viable?

Innovation Sighting: LG’s New Smart Vacuum Doubles as a Home Security System

LG VacuumThe rush to put new technology in the home is heating up like never before. Challengers include Amazon (Echo), Google (Home), and soon we'll have Apple's Siri device. Microsoft can't be far behind.

Now here's a completely different take on home technology, and it's a perfect example of the Task Unification Technique, one of five in the S.I.T. innovation method. Task Unification is defined as: assigning an additional task to an existing resource. That resource should be in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we call The Closed World. In essence, it's taking something that is already around you and giving an additional job. The new LG Hom-Bot robotic vacuum does just that. Here's a report from Architectural Digest:

Looking to buy a security system for your home? Consider a vacuum.

LG's newest Hom-Bot robotic vacuum, available this month, merges cleaning and home security into one smartphone-controlled system.

In addition to sweeping up dust and crumbs, the Hom-Bot has front and top-facing cameras that can be accessed through its app at any time. In a true representation of the "smart" vacuum, once it's become accustomed to your home, the Hom-Bot will also automatically snap photos and message them to you if it detects movement in an area of the home or at a time of the day when activity is unusual.

A square-ish rather than rounded shape allows it to edge into tighter corners, and its cameras not only act as a safety measure but also help it more accurately map the room to achieve an efficient cleaning route. Its final feature is a sure appeal to a millennial audience: The vacuum is a rose-hued shade of "metallic gold."

LG's Hom-Bot Turbo+ costs $999 but additional models without cameras retail for $799 and $699.

 To get the most out of the Task Unification technique, you follow five basic steps:

  1. List all of the components, both internal and external, that are part of the Closed World of the product, service, or process.
  2. Select a component from the list. Assign it an additional task, using one of three methods:
  • Choose an external component and use it to perform a task that the product accomplishes already
  • Choose an internal component and make it do something new or extra
  • Choose an internal component and make it perform the function of an external component, effectively “stealing” the external component’s function
  1. Visualize the new (or changed) products or services.
  2. What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?
  3. If you decide the new product or service is valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create these new products? Perform these new services? Why or why not? Is there any way to refine or adapt the idea to make it viable?

Marketing Innovation: Don’t Fight Water and the Inversion Tool

Jacob Goldenberg, in his book, "Cracking the Ad Code," describes eight creative patterns that are embedded in most innovative, award- winning commercials. The tools are:
   1. Unification
   2. Activation
   3. Metaphor
   4. Subtraction
   5. Extreme Consequence
   6. Absurd Alternative
   7. Inversion
   8. Extreme Effort

Out of these eight, the one that gives my students the most trouble is the Inversion tool. It conveys what would happen if you didn’t have the product…in an extreme way. It shows the benefits “lost” by not using the product. It is best used when the brand and its central benefits are well understood by the viewer. The advertiser is showing the viewer what bad things may happen if you don't use their brand. It's clever and memorable.

Here's a great example from Mr. Rooter Plumbing that is so simple and effective:

To use the Inversion technique, start with the components of the brand promise. Take each one away one at a time and envision in what ways the consumer would be affected...in an extreme way...if it did not have this aspect of the promise. Make sure that the "bad thing" that happens is so far fetched that viewers understand it's a joke. Otherwise, they'll get confused.

As Goldeberg notes, an important tactic of Inversion is to show unlimited generosity, understanding, and empathy for the poor consumer who does not use your product. The idea is to convey your product as having great understanding for your dilemma and generously suggesting assistance.

Here's another from Kayak:

Now THAT would be bad!

 

 

Marketing Innovation: Don’t Fight Water and the Inversion Tool

Jacob Goldenberg, in his book, "Cracking the Ad Code," describes eight creative patterns that are embedded in most innovative, award- winning commercials. The tools are:
   1. Unification
   2. Activation
   3. Metaphor
   4. Subtraction
   5. Extreme Consequence
   6. Absurd Alternative
   7. Inversion
   8. Extreme Effort

Out of these eight, the one that gives my students the most trouble is the Inversion tool. It conveys what would happen if you didn’t have the product…in an extreme way. It shows the benefits “lost” by not using the product. It is best used when the brand and its central benefits are well understood by the viewer. The advertiser is showing the viewer what bad things may happen if you don't use their brand. It's clever and memorable.

Here's a great example from Mr. Rooter Plumbing that is so simple and effective:

To use the Inversion technique, start with the components of the brand promise. Take each one away one at a time and envision in what ways the consumer would be affected...in an extreme way...if it did not have this aspect of the promise. Make sure that the "bad thing" that happens is so far fetched that viewers understand it's a joke. Otherwise, they'll get confused.

As Goldeberg notes, an important tactic of Inversion is to show unlimited generosity, understanding, and empathy for the poor consumer who does not use your product. The idea is to convey your product as having great understanding for your dilemma and generously suggesting assistance.

Here's another from Kayak:

Now THAT would be bad!

 

 

Van Gogh Air BnB: 2016 Epica Gold Winner for Innovation

Van Gogh BNB PhotoEstablished in 1987, Epica is the only prize in the area of creativity judged and awarded by journalists who work for marketing and communications magazines worldwide. This year’s Epica Gold winner for the Innovation Category goes to Art Institute of Chicago “Van Gogh BnB” by Leo Burnett in Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago, wanting to creatively and strategically market their new Van Gogh’s Bedroom exhibit, followed the innovative recommendation of Leo Burnett agency. By transforming an actual Chicago apartment into an exact replica of Van Gogh’s cherished painting, and making it available to rent on Air BnB for a mere $10/night, Van Gogh admirers were escorted beyond a mere wall hanging and over the threshold to the artist’s private world. Not only does the AirBnB account make this amazing overnight experience available, it also serves as advertising for the Institute, pointing interested clients toward ticket purchases for the Van Gogh’s Bedrooms exhibit.

It's a great example of "inside the box" thinking.

The outcome was nothing but astounding. The Art Institute’s sales went up 250% with 200,000 visitors and counting. Van Gogh’s Bedrooms now stands as the largest attended exhibit at the Institute in 15 years. And it serves as a reminder that no product is too outdated to benefit from the world of innovation.

To learn more about the Epica Awards click here, or for more information on Van Gogh’s Bedrooms Exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, click here.

Innovation Sighting: Pearl RearVision Backup Camera and Alert System

RearVision how it worksBacking up your car in those crammed, hard-to-see spaces just got safer and easier, thanks to Pearl Automation’s innovative use of the Task Unification Technique. Task Unification is defined as: assigning an additional task to an existing resource. That resource should be in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we call The Closed World. In essence, it's taking something that is already around you and giving an additional job.

RearVision provides a great example of this SIT technique at work. By adding a solar powered HD camera to the standard license plate frame, Pearl turned this humdrum car accessory into a rear-viewing camera. The theft resistant camera frame installs securely around your license plate and connects wirelessly to a car adapter in your ODP port. The adapter pairs with your mounted smart phone, transforming it into a rear-viewing screen.

TechCrunch shares:

Once connected, the RearVision app in landscape will show you a full-screen view of what the cameras in the license plate holder is seeing, with a 175-degree viewing angle. You can toggle between the full fish-eye experience, or a warp-corrected view that fills the display corner-to-corner with the space behind your car. You can also pivot the view up or down to get a better look at more of the sky, or more of the ground as needed.

RearVision mounted phoneYou also can utilize this technique to innovate helpful products.

To get the most out of the Task Unification technique, you follow five basic steps:

  1. List all of the components, both internal and external, that are part of the Closed World of the product, service, or process.
  2. Select a component from the list. Assign it an additional task, using one of three methods:
  • Choose an external component and use it to perform a task that the product accomplishes already
  • Choose an internal component and make it do something new or extra
  • Choose an internal component and make it perform the function of an external component, effectively “stealing” the external component’s function
  1. Visualize the new (or changed) products or services.
  2. What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?
  3. If you decide the new product or service is valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create these new products? Perform these new services? Why or why not? Is there any way to refine or adapt the idea to make it viable?

Innovation Sighting: Samsung’s Activewash Keeps It Clean Using Task Unification

Samsung Activewash PicThe washing machine is a vital component to every modern-day household. And top-loaders often get lost in today’s sea of front-loading appliances. Using the Task Unification pattern, Samsung’s Activewash with built-in sink holds its own among newly innovated appliances.

Task Unification is defined as: assigning an additional task to an existing resource. That resource should be in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we call The Closed World. In essence, it’s taking something that is already around you and giving it an additional job.

The Samsung Activewash is designed with a two-part lid, the bottom portion serving as a sink. This new sink equipped with jets allows you to pre-soak clothing and then slide it in the wash.

Digital Trends comments:

“According to Samsung’s research, 70 percent of the consumers it surveyed pretreat their laundry on top of their washing machines. To the company, a logical step was to make this process easier by adding a sink, complete with water jet and a surface for scrubbing away stains, right into the top of the machine. Enter the Activewash, a new top-loading washer unveiled at CES 2015 with a sink built into the top.  Instead of having to schlep soiled shirts and unwashed unmentionables from the bathroom to the basement, people can now just dunk their dirty clothes into the washer, let them soak, then drop them into the basin via a slot. The water used in the pretreating step isn’t wasted; it goes into the machine, too.”

To get the most out of the Task Unification technique, you follow five basic steps:

  1. List all of the components, both internal and external, that are part of the Closed World of the product, service, or process.
  2. Select a component from the list. Assign it an additional task, using one of three methods:
  • Choose an external component and use it to perform a task that the product accomplishes already
  • Choose an internal component and make it do something new or extra
  • Choose an internal component and make it perform the function of an external component, effectively “stealing” the external component’s function
  1. Visualize the new (or changed) products or services.
  2. What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?
  3. If you decide the new product or service is valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create these new products? Perform these new services? Why or why not? Is there any way to refine or adapt the idea to make it viable?



 

Where Great Ideas Come From

CuttingBoardTemplate

So where do great ideas come from? The answer might surprise you. Let’s look at the most successful rock band in history, The Beatles. In a biography of Paul McCartney  he shared his secret: “As usual for these co-written things, John often had just the first verse which was always enough. It was the direction it was the signpost and it was the inspiration for the whole song. I hate the word, but it was the template”

Paul and John used a formula early in their careers to create many blockbuster songs. They’re not the only ones. Many artists, authors, songwriters, and composers also use templates of some form.

Agatha Christie, for example, wrote over 60 novels and has sold more books than anyone. She did it by using a very familiar template in each of her books. That template helped structure her thinking in a way that made her more creative. Interestingly, most creative people don't want you to know they use templates. It seems to take away from their creative genius, when in fact templates make them more creative.

Highly creative people aren't the only ones that use patterns. Innovators for thousands of years have used patterns into their inventions usually without realizing it. Those patterns are now embedded into the products and services you see around you. Think of them almost as the DNA of a product or service. Imagine if there was a way for you to extract that DNA and reapply it to the products and services that are important to you. This is the essence of a method called Systematic Inventive Thinking. We call it SIT for short.

With SIT, innovation follows a set of patterns that can be reapplied to any product, service, or process. What these patterns do is channel your ideation process. They regulate your thinking so that you can innovate in a systematic way on demand. Let’s learn more about these patterns.

Surprisingly, the majority of innovative products and services can be explained by just five patterns.

First is subtraction: this is the elimination of a core component - something that seemed essential at first.

Next is task unification: where a component of a product has been assigned an additional job. One that it wasn’t designed to do.  

Then there is multiplication: many innovative products have taken a component and copied it, but change the component in some counterintuitive way.

Then we have division: where you take a component, or the product itself and divide it along some physical or functional line and then rearrange it back into the product.

And finally attribute dependency: this is where a product has a correlation between two attributes of the product and its environment. As one thing changes, another thing changes.

These five patterns are a crucial foundation to driving innovation in your business. Learn how to use these patterns to help you invent new products, services, and processes here: Business Innovation at Lynda.com.

The Subtraction Technique: When Less is More

UntitledTake a look at these four items and tell me – what do they have in common? Here, you see an exercise bicycle, a package of powdered soup, a contact lens, and a child’s high chair, the kind that slips over the edge of the table.

Do you see it? Most people would answer that they're all consumer goods, or that they all provide convenience to the consumer. And while that’s true, that’s not what I’m looking for. Take a look at how they were constructed? Compare them to an early form of the product. Now do you see it?

Each of the items has had something subtracted from an original form of a product. The exercise bike has had the rear wheel removed. The powdered soup has had the water removed. What about the contact lens? It’s had the frame removed. And the child’s highchair has had the legs removed. All four of these products are examples of what can be created using the Subtraction Technique. Let me show you how to use it.

First, we define Subtraction as the elimination of an essential component rather than an addition of new systems and functions. To use the technique, follow the steps of the Function Follows Form principle. First, list the internal components. The internal components are those that are directly on or connected to the product.

Then, apply Subtraction by removing a component. Don't be bashful here – pick something that you think is essential to the product or service. Next, you visualize the resulting virtual product. Remember that the virtual product is an abstract configuration at this point and it may seem rather odd, and even absurd.

At this next stage, you ask yourself two questions, and you do it in this specific order. First question is, should we do it? Does this new configuration create any advantage or solve some problem? Is there a target audience who would find this beneficial? Does it deliver an unmet need?

If you identify some benefit, then you ask yourself the second question: Can we do it? Do we have the technical know-how to make this concept? Is it feasible? Do we have the intellectual property. Are there regulatory or legal barriers?

Once you complete this first round, the Subtraction Technique allows you to replace the function of the missing component. We first try to replace it with something from the Closed World, something in the immediate vicinity of the where the consumer uses the product. If not, we think of how we could import some technology or other component from outside the closed world.

Subtraction is a powerful technique because it breaks fixedness and forces you to mentally imagine all the remaining components delivering some new benefit.

Innovation Sighting: Task Unification and Drug Dispensing Contact Lenses


Contact-lens-dispenses-drug-lowers-eye-pressure-in-glaucoma-patientsMedical device makers have been trying for years to replicate the success of drug-eluting stents - devices that do a particular job while at the same time, delivering a therapeutic drug. Here's a new one that demonstrates the Task Unification pattern. Task Unification is defined as: assigning an additional task to an existing resource. That resource should be in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we call The Closed World. In essence, it's taking something that is already around you and giving it an additional job.

From UPI:

After 50 years of trying, researchers may have found an effective way to use contact lenses to deliver drugs for conditions treated with eye drops.

Glaucoma patients may soon be able to treat the condition using a lens that slowly releases medication to the eye, with some tests with monkeys suggesting the treatment method could be more effective than the standard eye drops, researchers at Harvard Medical School report in a new study.

The leading cause of irreversible blindness, glaucoma has no cure but doctors attempt to slow its development by prescribing drops for patients. The drops, however, often cause stinging and burning, and may be difficult for some patients to use, if they try to use them at all.

"If we can address the problem of compliance, we may help patients adhere to the therapy necessary to maintain vision in diseases like glaucoma, saving millions from preventable blindness," Dr. Joseph Ciolino, an ophthalmologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and an assistant professor at Harvard, said in a press release. "This study also raises the possibility that we may have an option for glaucoma that's more effective than what we have today."

Using a novel design, researchers created a contact lens with a thin film of drug-encapsulated polymers around its edges. The polymer film slows release of the drug -- previous attempts at a drug-eluting lens released medications far too fast -- while remaining on the side of the lens so its center remains clear for vision.

To get the most out of the Task Unification technique, you follow five basic steps:

1. List all of the components, both internal and external, that are part of the Closed World of the product, service, or process.

2. Select a component from the list. Assign it an additional task, using one of three methods:

  • Choose an external component and use it to perform a task that the product accomplishes already
  • Choose an internal component and make it do something new or extra
  • Choose an internal component and make it perform the function of an external component, effectively “stealing” the external component’s function

3. Visualize the new (or changed) products or services.

4. What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?

5. If you decide the new product or service is valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create these new products? Perform these new services? Why or why not? Is there any way to refine or adapt the idea to make it viable?