Our approach to systematic innovation is a method for identifying and resolving the tension between a combination of opposing forces, or what we call a contradiction. The “null hypothesis” presumes that the contradiction can’t be resolved; by “inverting the null hypothesis” and presuming that the contradiction can be resolved, we discover ways of resolving it. Due to the blind spots in our field of vision, we often miss such opportunities to replace conventional thinking with more expansive thinking. But they are usually (or often) present. Metaphors and synonyms for our approach to systematic innovation include “orthogonal thinking“, “integrative thinking“, and “ambidextrous thinking“. Our approach is also related to and, in some sense, derived from methods like TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) and SIT ( Systematic Inventive Thinking) — although we believe that our approach offers particular advantages to those techniques under certain circumstances.
every truly disruptive innovation solves a contradiction;
every solved contradiction was once an un-solved contradiction
We typically solve a contradiction by de-composing the opposing forces into their underlying elements (“functional de-composition”) and re-composing them into a cohesive whole by various system transformations (modular architecture; layered architecture; distributed architecture; simultaneous loose / tight integration; appropriate complexity) that includes the advantageous attributes of the combination and excludes the dis-advantageous attributes of the combination.
Systematic innovation is an effective tool for identifying “white space” and unleashing radical innovation. It is also an effective tool for pursuing incremental innovation — our focus is not in that direction. We are focused on high-value / disruptive innovation. Systematic innovation is relevant for early stage / small enterprise; it is also relevant for product development in large enterprise — presuming that those initiatives are oriented toward high-value / disruptive innovation.
Systematic innovation explores and optimizes multiple attributes for an ideal or un-discovered product / service configuration. Systematic innovation is an art and a science. The “science” is generation of various combinations of attributes and identification of feasible / relevant configurations. The “art” is identification of relevant attributes as the basis for combinations. Every solution space is unique. A more robust approach can integrate product / service attributes and customer attributes.
Practitioners of systematic innovation gain access to a more robust and repeatable approach to product / service innovation and an innovation practice that scales more effectively across the organization. Systematic innovation is relevant for product managers, product designers, and product developers who are “directly” responsible for product / service innovation; it is also relevant for team members who are “indirectly” involved in promoting innovation and team members who aspire to become more directly involved in the practice of innovation.
Innovation Radiation is our unique approach to systematic innovation. It is a “dynamic toolkit” that is both specific and flexible. Innovation Radiation is the core innovation process in small enterprise; related elements of the business model “radiate” from the core process. Innovation Radiation is an “innovation engine” that integrates seamlessly with a product management framework in large enterprise. We conduct introductory seminars, interactive workshops, and practical engagements to equip individuals, groups, and organizations with this capability.
“Most innovation approaches are random / emotional / intuitive vs. systematic. We’ve developed a set of tools / methods that are useful for innovating systematically in any domain — market / product / platform.” – Arun Batchu, Technology Architect; Emerging Technology / Optum Technology
“We’ve developed a set of tools / methods that are applicable at different scales — feature / product / enterprise. Unlike other systematic approaches like TRIZ and SIT, our toolkit is both simple and powerful.” – Arun Batchu, Technology Architect; Emerging Technology / Optum Technology
“Innovation Radiation is to systematic innovation as Scrum is to agile development. Systematic innovation is even more important than agile development in the new world of VUCA.” – Arun Batchu, Technology Architect; Emerging Technology / Optum Technology
“This approach to systematic innovation is brilliant. It is both simple and powerful. Even a child could use it… yet it could be applied to very complex problems.” – Michaele Gardner, Agile Coach / Target
Systematic Innovation in Business and Management – Darrell Mann
We found example after example of companies that are “innovative” and / or are launching new and “innovative” products and services, but we found few companies that are using a systematic process for innovation.
The companies that are using a systematic process for innovation (like TRIZ) won’t talk. When you have the “golden hen”, it’s difficult to share the story of how an egg was laid.
Almost everyone accepts the importance of innovation. Why do most organizations do it so poorly? Because innovation is generally random, haphazard, one-off, and outside the norm. Instead, make it systematic and part of your everyday culture.
Doug Hall is a master innovator. His new book, published today, “Problem Solving with Data-Driven Methods and the Innovation Engineering System”, has easy to understand frameworks, processes and ideas.
Most innovation at the corporate level in India is Jugaad and incremental — it is about extending existing products, services, or processes by adding new capabilities or features.
To capitalize on digital transformation opportunities, companies need to look beyond cost-cutting and operational efficiency; invest in developing their innovation pipeline and ecosystem; and build a repeatable and scalable model. Companies need to apply design thinking and invest in building a design-led innovation culture.