Category Archives: Web/Tech

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?

New: Innovate! App Brings Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) to Your Computer and Tablet


App-CoverWant innovation at your fingertips? Consider the Innovate! Inside the Box web application, which acts as a digital sherpa for Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT).

This web app (available for an annual subscription of $12) takes you inside the box and into the world of creativity. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can generate thoughtful, fresh ideas to solve a problem or improve a product.

For those who have yet to read “Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results,” the SIT method uses techniques that evolved through research that examined thousands of innovative products, demonstrating that innovation is teachable and accessible to anyone. SIT refutes the traditional view of creativity, which is typically considered as thinking “outside the box” to find big ideas. The app harnesses this method to help you generate ideas digitally.

How to use the web app:

  • First register and create log-in credentials.
  • Once logged in (and paid), review the five techniques to understand how each one works and how to apply them.
  • View the sample project, Refrigerator, under My Projects. Review the Ideas List for examples of ideas generated with each technique. You may recognize some of these already from reading the book.
  • Create your own new project and follow the instructions on how to apply the SIT method techniques.
  • After applying the method(s), see the idea(s) you’ve generated. If you’re happy with your idea, the tool will allow you to write a more detailed description, get a new virtual product and share your breakthrough innovation via email, Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #InnovateInsidetheBox.

Tips to help you navigate the tool:

  • If you’re not sure where to start, you can always reference previous blogs and categories to view real life examples of each technique. Typically, I recommend starting a new project with subtraction because it helps address fixedness.
  • Remember the difference between a component and an attribute because you will kick your project off by listing both.
  • Don’t go outside of the Closed World. The Closed World includes only the resources available in the immediate area.
  • You have the ability to create groups and add others to your projects.

Professors and instructors who are interested in teaching a course about innovation may want to consider using the Innovate! Inside the Box web app as a supplement. Download the faculty instruction manual, which includes a course guide and suggested materials.

Using Systematic Innovation on Digital Assets

Cyt-screen-960x630The SIT method is great for creating exciting new products and services. Now I want to show you how to apply these techniques to digital assets. For example, let’s apply the Attribute Dependency technique to a website. You start by listing the internal and external attributes of the site like the one here. 

Internal:
1. color
2. design
3. graphics
4. information
5. link locations
6. page loading speed
7. contact information
8. length of text

External:
a. number of visitors
b. type of visitors
c. location of visitor
d. SEO page rank
e. search requests
f. type of browser
g. type of computer

Next, randomly pair an external attribute with an internal one. and imagine a relationship between the two attributes. For example, “location of visitor” and “graphics,” meaning how the information is displayed on your website. As the location of the visitor changes, the information and graphics that you display on your website changes. Why would that be valuable? In what situations would it make sense to have that relationship in place?

Think about it. Imagine if your customer is browsing your website right inside one of your retail stores. Perhaps you would change the kind of information and graphics you would use to show your products. What if they were browsing your website from one of your competitor’s stores? Could that change how you display competitive pricing information? What if your customer is browsing within a healthcare facility, or from an airport, or inside a restaurant? Would it change the products, the prices, or other service elements that you display? It just might. Applying attribute dependency can make your website responsive and adaptable. It services your clients better by understanding more about them.

Facebook_like_logo_1Let’s apply this same approach to a social media application. For this example, let’s use Facebook. Here are the internal and external attributes of a Facebook Page.

Internal
1.number of friends
2.wall postings (by you)
3.pokes
4.status
5.years on Facebook
6.gender of friends
7.degree of friendship
8.emotional state
9.nature of friendship
10.age
11.current location
12.current activity
13.photos with other people

External
a.time
b.likes
c.size of friends’ network
d.wall postings (by others)
e.status of friends
f.friend's demographics (age, gender, etc)

Let’s imagine a relationship between “likes” and “wall postings.” There is no relationship there now, so let’s imagine one. For example, as the number of “likes” increases over a particular period of time, your wall postings change. Why would that be beneficial? Perhaps you would put different products or special promotions there once you reach a certain level of likes. In other words, you change how you engage with your customers who visit your Facebook page based on how they engage. A relationship between these two attributes would give you a cue to know when it's appropriate to do something different on your page.

Let’s go further with digital innovation and look at mobile apps and how to apply SIT techniques. For these, I like to use the Task Unification technique. We create a virtual product by saying: the App has the additional job of addressing this business issue. The trick is to pick an app that has absolutely nothing to do with the issue now. That’s where you find some surprising innovations.

Let’s do an example. Imagine your company makes a household product that helps get rid of odors in your home. It’s a spray product that you would use to get rid of odors from your cat or dog. Imagine you're the marketing manager for this product and you want to find creative ways to promote its benefits.

First, find a list of mobile apps. Pick one of these randomly and plug it into the phrase: "the app has the additional job of promoting my product."

Here is an app called Micello, a provider of comprehensive indoor venue mapping. It’s like Google maps only for in indoor spaces like shopping malls or airports. You imagine this app has the additional job of promoting your spray for pet odors. What would be the benefit? How it would work, and how would it increase brand awareness of your product? Suppose this technology is used to create an internal map of your home. What if it could also track where your pet spends its time as it moves from room to room. Perhaps the app creates an odor heat map of where the pet has been so that you know exactly where to spray the product. I love this idea because it’s both functional and it reinforces the brand promise.

Task Unification can help find new uses for existing apps, and it can help you create completely new apps.

Your digital assets are just as important as your products and services. Using the SIT Method will unlock more value for your customers and find new ways to engage them more effectively through digital channels.

 

 

INNOVATE! – The App That Facilitates S.I.T.

App1The Innovate! Inside the Box app for iPad facilitates the use of Systematic Inventive Thinking. It explains each of the five techniques and allows users to generate creative ideas and innovations on demand.

To Use the App:
Go to How to Use the App on the Homepage to read about Systematic Inventive Thinking.

You can review how each technique works by going to Learn a Technique.

Then, go to My Innospace and look at the sample project, Refrigerator, under Current Projects. Review the Ideas List for examples of ideas generated with each technique.
You may recognize some of these from this course.

App4Go to New Innospace and create a new project. Enter the Name of product or service you want to innovate. Enter a Description of the project and hit Enter.

Next, enter the Components and Attributes of the product or service.

Select one of the five techniques to apply to the new project. You can select a technique, or select the “I’m Feeling Lucky” option.

Then step through the two buttons shown here to read each of the Virtual Products that the app creates. Use Function Follows Form to identify potential innovations. Capture new ideas discovered.

App7Enter a name of the idea. Enter a description of the idea. List the benefits. Add notes if needed, then hit Done

You can share your ideas via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to backup your projects by going to the More link.

The innovate app is a great way to help you stay organized when you’re applying Systematic Inventive Thinking.