Systematic Innovation @ Minnebar 2019 — 4/27/2019

What is Your Contradiction?

Systematic Innovation in Product Development

Start with a contradiction. If you plan to invest several years of your precious time in a product / service opportunity that doesn’t solve a contradiction, keep looking. If you are pursuing a product or service innovation and you aren’t planning on a multi-year commitment, keep looking. Whether you’re in a small enterprise or a large enterprise — find an opportunity that is worth a multi-year commitment.

A contradiction is two opposing forces or dimensions that apparently can’t be improved simultaneously. We usually optimize across contradictions instead of solving them — by increasing one variable while decreasing the other variable. Optimization is not the same as resolution. Optimization produces incremental innovation; resolution produces radical / disruptive innovation. Optimization can be a distraction from discovering significant, long-term product / service value.

Many innovations improve one variable in isolation. Some innovations even improve two variables — although the two variables are not inherently in conflict with each other, and they may even be un-related. Incremental innovation. Improve two variables that are inherently in conflict with each other. Radical / disruptive innovation.

Solving a contradiction addresses the two critical elements of a viable business model: Customer value (delivering two dimensions that previously required a compromise) and competitive advantage (delivering customer value that the competition has not discovered and / or is not equipped to deliver).

This approach is a variant of a broad domain that is known as systematic innovation. I will describe the basic model of systematic innovation. I will describe how the systematic approach is more effective than un-systematic approaches. I will describe how this particular systematic approach is more effective than other systematic approaches — it solves a contradiction among systematic approaches!

I will describe how prominent innovators have used this approach to disrupt entire eco-systems in medical technology and information technology. I will describe how I used this approach to discover a Web middleware innovation that is currently generating a healthy royalty stream. We may even explore an application or two on the fly if you want to iterate some ideas.

Join me as we discover product / service value with systematic innovation. If you haven’t discovered a contradiction that you can solve — keep looking!

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