First of all, I must apologize to myself for not being able to post anything on the blog. Its indeed been a very hectic time both at work as well as at home.
Indeed, its not easy to be a father of two !!
Anyways, back to the topic !
I always thought innovation is something that can never be taught on the job and I thought it must come from within individual to break the mould and find out better ways of doing the job. I never thought that you can actually teach someone to think innovative and come up with innovative ideas, implement the innovation concepts and practice innovation techniques.
How wrong I was to think that !
I have been part of the Innovation Sessions in my organization and the experience there has been nothing short of great. Not only these sessions have given me a direction to think different on innovation, but also to learn more on various innovation techniques and processes.
With this post, I would starting a new article series Learning Innovation based on my own learning and my thoughts on the same. I hope this first post will give you few leads to help yourself learn more on innovation techniques and processes so you can also try them in your organization,
Innovation by Subtraction
Innovation by Subtraction is a bit uncommon process but might yield surprising results.
To use the IbS process for doing an innovation in a process, we are expected to make a list of components of the process. The list should contain the MUST have components of the process. Now, as a part of the IbS, you are expected to brainstorm on how the process would still function without each of the components. We are expected to innovate the potential value or benefits would be without the components.
However, the most important part of the solution must be the fact that the solution should not compromise the business value or benefits coming out the process. It should sound like a workable business idea !
The examples we discussed within our session were very interesting and the ideas that came out were even better. Have a look at the following table which might give you an idea on how radical can your thinking get when you remove the most essential part (you thought) from your process, service, product.
Product / process
Most essential part of your product / process
Innovative Solutions when you remove the most essential part
|Mobile phone||Battery charging||
Can the phone use solar energy?
|Laptop||Keyboard||Can it use touch screen?
Can it use gesture control?
Can it read your brain?
|Shopping||Shops||Shopping as a service?
Can the experience be made better?
Assisted shopping with experts?
Better value for money?
IbS has been a catalyst for many great innovations over the year. Most notably of them were,
Phone call with IVR (Interactive Voice Recording)
The most important thing when you deal transactions on phone, are of course the people. You need someone to listen to you and act on your instructions or help you in dealing issues. Now when you apply the IbS rule to this process of a phone call and remove the most important part of the process, the listener (person) and replace with an automated solution, what remains is an innovative solution of IVR.
Business benefits – Significant reduction of costs, reduction in errors, more customer satisfaction in general.
Client server technology
The most important part of the computer functionality was the business processing and the subsequent hardware that is consumed by desktop PCs do support the business processing. When you remove both 1. an ability to compute itself and 2. CPU unit, what remains is an innovative solution of Client server technology. The server controls the business processing and has significant CPU power while the clients are more of dumb terminals with only monitor & keyboard as significant hardware. You can still perform full tasks and can add more terminals with less costs.
Business benefits – Significant reduction of costs, space & consistent performance
Did you ever think of any computing device until last few years with no keyboard to interact with? Calculators, mobile phones, notebooks, desktops were all having dedicated keyboards for users to interact with them. You now take out the most important part of the device interaction i.e. keyboard and the innovative solution is to have a touch screen interface. Touchscreen technology has been touted as one of the most popular device interaction technology now a days with more and more devices giving option of touch screens.
Business benefits – Style factor, bigger screen areas, better interaction techniques
So, think on you can use the IbS technique for finding out innovative ideas and solutions for your processes, services.