By Constant Ondo
Do you still believe that idea boxes can nurture the innovation capacity of your company? I don’t. I have seen so many struggling to collect ideas and running dry within a few months, or generating projects that never succeeded, to tell that your chance to develop a profitable innovation with an idea box is almost equal to winning at a slot machine with a single token.
Yet, almost all innovation management softwares are no more than idea boxes. Nicely packaged, yes, and thus arguing to reinvent user experience, but with no specific functionality to support your teams in the innovation process and therefore no guarantee of success.
As a consultant and instructor in innovation management, I always strived to demonstrate that it is possible to innovate in a systematic way and, doing so, generate more ideas and achieve maximum success.
Convinced that artificial intelligence can be used to model the innovation process in a digital tool with real added value, I decided with my associate partners to create such a tool and include it in the PICC Software platform.
PICC Software’s innovation module has already proved its worth in major companies, such as Arcelor Mittal, which video testimony can be watched here, and were 5 meetings of 3 hours each were enough to generate 30 solution concepts in order to drastically reduce CO2 emissions on production sites.
PICC Software’s innovation module can be used to support innovation on processes, technical products (BtoB), and consumer goods (BtoC). It will boost your creativity by channeling it; although this may sound counterintuitive, it is the key to systematic innovation.
Showing you the path towards the ideal product
TRIZ is based on the theory of technical systems’ evolution as well as on problem-solving methods. According to TRIZ, any system has to evolve and can only survive if it increases its « ideality » level. Considering that the ideal product is, for TRIZ again, the one that offers maximum benefit with a minimum of « pain » (efforts, constraints, induced problems…) and at minimal cost, the model in itself defines the frame and focus points on which innovation will make sense.
PICC Software will help you at this stage by enabling you to organize, automatically, all the technical knowledge related to a particular product, in a logical pattern. Your experts will describe your product as a system or a set of systems and write down, for each of them, in collaborative mode, all the benefits and unsolved problems are known, as well as all partial solutions already implemented or considered. PICC Software will organize all these inputs in real-time, and display them in a KMAP (knowledge map). The real-time KMAP provides a twofold advantage: first, it will encourage knowledge-sharing, since each participant will be able to react on others’ inputs; second, it will use all inputs to generate automatically a list of contradictions, ranked according to their impact on the ideality of each system. This functionality saves R&D teams, be they expert of TRIZ or not, tremendous time.
Each identified contradiction is an innovation opportunity, not coming out of the blue but based on laws derived from the analysis of more than 4 million inventions. These opportunities are statistically much more likely to give birth to profitable innovations, and with PICC Software, you will know which one to start with.
Supporting you in solution finding
How will your teams proceed once they will know which contradiction they need to solve in order to make your product more ideal? Will they (at last) organize a brainstorming during which they will let their imagination run wild? Yes and no.
Yes because, happily, innovation will always partly depend on the purely human ability to invent something that does not exist yet.
No, because the solution-finding process will be strictly guided, using the 40 inventive principles listed in TRIZ, such as for example merging several systems in one or, on the contrary, separating an interfering sub-system from the main system. Once again, these 40 principles come from the analysis of more than 4 million inventions, which showed that 70 to 80% of the problems we are facing today have already been solved in the past and that only 1 to 3% are totally new. The incredible power of TRIZ comes from the ability to extract a problem from its particular context so as to make it more general and thus similar to a problem already solved.
And here again, PICC Software will make the task much easier. It will automatically identify the « general » problem you are facing, analyze which inventive principles have already been used to solve it, and return a shortlist of those you should apply to your future innovation, ranked in descending order according to their success probability.
PICC Software goes even further and gives access to several examples of innovations derived from each selected inventive principle.
These illustrated examples act as an incredibly efficient inspiration for your teams, who will quickly propose several viable solution concepts.
Helping you choose between incremental and disruptive innovation
While disruptive innovation remains a Holy Grail for innovation, it generally calls for much bigger development costs and must be launched on the market at the right time so that massive adoption can generate the expected level of profit.
According to law number 6 in TRIZ, all systems follow the same maturation pattern at the end of which they finally die. Their function is then taken up by another system in their surrounding environment. It is what happened to the fax « system », which function of sending digital documents is now undertaken by computers, smartphones, watches…
As long as an existing system has not reached the final stage of its maturation system, it will be hard for a disruptive innovation to be massively adopted and it is thus preferable, as a first step, to go for an incremental one.
PICC Software can help you use this indicator to steer your innovation strategy. It will automatically analyze the maturity index of the solution concepts you are planning to develop.
You will thus better secure the success rate and ROI of your innovations.
I reviewed hereabove the main features included in PICC Software that can help you maximize the results of your innovation process. Still, I did not explain how PICC Software can support your intellectual property strategy. The topic deserves a post of its own. Should you be interested in reading it, feel free to follow the picc-solution page to get it upon publication.
Willing to move on to systematic innovation?
Let’s discuss it !