Category Archives: Innovation Sighting

Innovation Sighting: Task Unification and GladWare Containers

GladWare containers have become a common household item. Most kitchens today have that designated drawer filled to the brim with self-stacking plastic wonders and the infamous lids with the center circle. Those center circles are most convenient, providing an interlocking feature for stacking, as GladWare intended.  

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 6.49.39 AMYet just a week ago, a photo of a typical, everyday moment went viral. A mom packing lunches for her family
snapped a shot of her partially filled GladWare containers, revealing a less-known innovation feature: a lid within a lid.  Who knew all along that Glad’s dressing cups fit up into the larger lid! Not only did the lightbulb come on for tens of thousands of lunch packers, but it revealed an innovation template within the GladWare design: Task Unification.

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. Glad, through the integration of a center circle in its lids, created an additional lid for its smaller dressing containers, resulting in an all-in-one packing option.

Fox News shares:

Though Glad has marketed its To-Go Lunch containers as equipped with special “dressing cups that snap into [the] lid,” most have just assumed the circle in the middle of the lid was a design feature, not a built-in dressing holder.

But now that this lunch hack has been revealed, it’s likely that more and more people will be taking advantage of the spill-proof cap storage.

You can also 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: Attribute Dependency and The Total Eclipse of the Sun

Total eclipse stamp imageThe United States Postal Service has just released a “first-of-its-kind” stamp that changes appearance when you touch it. What has inspired this small nugget of innovation? The August 21 total eclipse of the sun. It will be the first total eclipse to be seen in the U.S. mainland since 1979. Even more, a total eclipse has not traveled the entire span of the United States since 1918. Since millions of people hope to witness this historic event, the
USPS decided to commemorate it with a Forever Stamp.

It just so happens that this newly issued stamp is a great example of the Attribute Dependency technique - one of the five innovation methods that make up Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). Attribute Dependency works by creating (or breaking) a dependency between two attributes of a product or its environment. The Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever Stamp works in this way as the picture on the stamp changes when one rubs their thumb over it.

According to the United States Postal Service:

The stamp image is a photograph taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak, aka Mr. Eclipse, of Portal, AZ, that shows a total solar eclipse seen from Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006.

In the first U.S. stamp application of thermochromic ink, the Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamps will reveal a second image. Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the Moon (Espenak also took the photograph of the Full Moon). The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools. 

The stamp is a great example of how SIT methods can be applied to any product, great or small. And, anyone can learn to create by utilizing these innovative methods, including you! If you would like to get the most out of the Attribute Dependency Technique, follow these steps:

  1. List internal/external variables.
  2. Pair variables (using a 2 x 2 matrix)
  • Internal/internal
  • Internal/external
  1. Create (or break) a dependency between the variables.
  2. Visualize the resulting virtual product.
  3. Identify potential user needs.
  4. Modify the product to improve it.

 

 

Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency and High Heels

High Heel Blog ImageA great example of the Attribute Dependency Technique can be found at My Place Café & Bar at the Hilton Osaka hotel in Japan. Attribute Dependency is one of the five innovation methods called Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). It works by creating (or breaking) a dependency between two attributes of a product or its environment. And this technique is helping My Place increase their customer base in a surprising way by offering female customers a discount on their food and drink orders based on the height of their high heels. The higher the heel the greater the discount.

According to Fox News:

To qualify for the promotion, heels must be at least five centimeters (two inches) tall. But the higher the heel, the greater the discount on the bar’s select dining options, craft beer, organic wine and cocktails.

Discounts start at 10 percent off your order, with each additional two centimeters of heel height receiving a better deal.

Heels from seven to nine centimeters get 15 percent off, nine to 11 centimeters 20 percent, 11 to 13 centimeters 25 percent and 13 to 15 centimeters 30 percent. Anyone wearing heels above 15 centimeters (almost 6 inches!) will 40 percent off their bill.

My Place is running its “High Heels Ladies Night Discount” on Thursday nights starting June 15 and it lasts from 6 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

It’s true that anyone can learn to create by utilizing the SIT methods. If you would like to get the most out of the Attribute Dependency Technique, follow these steps:

  1. List internal/external variables.
  2. Pair variables (using a 2 x 2 matrix)
  • Internal/internal
  • Internal/external
  1. Create (or break) a dependency between the variables.
  2. Visualize the resulting virtual product.
  3. Identify potential user needs.
  4. Modify the product to improve it.

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?

Innovation Sighting: The Mahabis Slipper and the Division Technique

We all know the endless kick-on, kick-off routine associated with that perfectly comfortable pair of house slippers. Our days are filled with quick trips to the market, impromptu lunches, and endless dog walks. And one of two scenarios are typically woven into the daily in-and-out saga of life -- either countless episodes of shoe swapping or foregoing those fabulous house shoes to spare extra minutes.

Mahabis slipper 2Mahabis, a shoe company based out of London, set their innovation sites on resolving this daily dilemma by creating the Mahabis slipper. Utilizing the Division Technique, Mahabis created an indoor-outdoor wool slipper made possible by a detachable sole.  According to Mahabis, these soles “flick-on and clip-down in seconds.” By offering convenience, Mahabis hasn’t overlooked quality as they aimed to make a sole that is light and comfortable and provides adequate heel support, grip, and relaxed comfort.

The Mahabis slipper is just one example of the Division technique at work. To get the most out of the Division technique, you follow five basic steps:

  1. List the product’s or service’s internal components.
  2. Divide the product or service in one of three ways:
  • Functional (take a component and rearrange its location or when it appears).
  • Physical (cut the product or one of its components along any physical line and rearrange it).
  • Preserving (divide the product or service into smaller pieces, where each piece still possesses all the characteristics of the whole).
  1. Visualize the new (or changed) product or service.
  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 you have a new product or service that is indeed valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create this new product or perform this new service? Why or why not? Can you refine or adapt the idea to make it more viable?

Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all three forms of Division, but you boost your chance of scoring a breakthrough idea if you do.

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?

The SIT Patterns in Thanksgiving Cooking Gadgets

by Darla Wilkinson (darla@drewboyd.com)

 

For many people this week’s Thanksgiving celebration will mean endless shopping, prepping, and cooking in anticipation of the big feast. The hours of slaving away in the kitchen usually seem worth it all once you sit and savor the joy shared by family and friends. And though every dish sprinkled with a pinch of love is the tastiest, none of us would slight a little help in the kitchen in order to make this one-day-a-year dinner a little less stressful for the chef.

So in the spirit of lending a helping hand, I’ve found 5 kitchen gadgets that can easily assist you this Thanksgiving holiday. And it just so happens they demonstrate the five patterns of the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT).

  1. Infrared thermometerSUBTRACTION: The Subtraction Technique works by removing a component, preferably an essential one, then working backwards to imagine what benefits are created by just the remaining components. By removing the standard probe from the thermometer and adding an infrared device, this tool will allow you to see if your turkey is, in fact, ready while keeping your fingertips unburned and agile for other culinary tasks. The thermometer featured is the ThermoHAWK 420 Touchless thermometer.
  1. Triple timerMULTIPLICATION: The Multiplication Technique works by taking a component of the system, copying it, but changing it in some qualitative way. Like Subtraction, you take this new configuration and imagine benefits that it could deliver. The OXO Good Grips Triple Timer has multiplied the time-keeping feature by displaying not one but three timers on the screen. Each timer works independently from the other enabling you to make sure the turkey, potatoes, and pumpkin pie all finish right on time.
  1. Fat separatorTASK UNIFICATION: The Task Unification Technique works by taking an existing component and assigning it an additional job (that of another component or some new task). Holiday gravy demands only the best turkey broth. And thanks to the fat separator a standard liquid measuring cup has been turned into so much more. By adding a stopper to the spout and a filter to the top of the cup, turkey drippings are not only measured, but the fat and skin are filtered, leaving only the luscious broth to be poured out. The OXO Good Grips Fat Separator is featured.
  1. Divided rackDIVISION: The Division Technique works by taking a component of the product or the product itself, then dividing it physically or functionally. You re-arrange the parts to seek new benefits. Nothing spells disaster quite like seeing the Thanksgiving bird tumble to the ground when transferring it from your roasting pan to the cutting board. Thanks to the application of the division technique to the roasting rack, such tragedy can be avoided. By dividing the roasting rack in half lengthwise and attaching them with a pin, a chef can now pull the pen and slip both halves out from under the bird. The rack featured is the Cuisipro Roasting Rack.
  1. Voice activiated listATTRIBUTE DEPENDENCY: The Attribute Dependency Technique works by creating (or breaking) a dependency between two attributes of the product or its environment. As one thing changes, another thing changes. This kitchen gadget can put an end to forgetting that one essential ingredient you remembered while washing the dishes. By pressing the button and speaking into your wall-mounted Smart Shopper, the gadget records each item on the display screen for you. You can later print out a list in a simple receipt form, saving you time from stopping to write down items or typing them in your phone.

Holiday meals will always be a labor of love. But thanks to the timeless templates used by innovators, these gadgets can be handy companions to preparing the best Thanksgiving feast yet.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers!

 

 

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?



 

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?