genius in creating the “Special Theory Of Relativity”
wasn’t that he invented a new science, but he saw the relationships between
the works of a dozen other scientists and put it together. In
today’s terminology he “connected the dots” of known theories and experimental
results to explain what was being observed. From this he was able
to predict new outcomes.
Inventions don’t come out of thin air, but are created from the application and association
of knowledge, fueled by a need, and generated through cognitive
thinking. Put another way, the technique of inventing includes
four elements; Knowledge, Association, Need, and Thinking.
Example Headscratcher: “How do we gain market share against
our two top competitors”. This is a “How do we do it better”
Headscratcher. The solution for this Headscratcher is
obtained through a series of several techniques, including “Invention”;
resulting perhaps in new functionality or a delivery system. Let’s take
a closer look at Invention.
The Four Elements of Invention:
Knowledge: The collection of facts and
experiences you have. The more knowledge one has access to, the more
powerful the choices will be. “Knowledge is Power”.
Association: Understanding the
relationships, connections and trends between and among knowledge
elements. Association is “Connecting the dots”.
Need: Seeking a solution begins
with someone wanting one, but finding and implementing a solution requires a
need for one. “Necessity is the mother of invention”.
Thinking: Purposeful thought
for the objective of creating a result. “Think”.
Putting it together:
Knowledge: You need experienced knowledge
experts on the team; A sample of “Knowledge” for the example is
an understanding of why customers buy from the competition, and the
experiences in selling against them.
Association: For the example, “connect the dots”
between customer problems, decision criteria and buying patterns with your
solution compared with your competitors. Make sure you or
someone on your team is really good at association. This includes those
who are good at spotting cause and effect, patterns and trending, such as
architects, analysts and detectives.
Need: Examine the customer’s need
too. Their “invention” to solve a problem, just like your “invention”
to create a solution, will also be driven by a need.
Think! Get “Thinking” part of your
organization. When Thomas Watson joined IBM in 1914, then called the
“Computing Tabulating Recording Company” he coined the term “THINK”.
Watson said “Thought has been the father of every advance since time
began. ‘I didn’t think’, has cost the world millions of dollars”.
The slogan THINK became ingrained in the employee base, complemented with
large block-letter signs with the word “THINK” on it, eventually translated
into dozens of languages distributed thought-out IBM worldwide.
The Takeaway: Inventing in business isn’t
something done in the laboratory with white coats, or in boardrooms, but is a
process lead by those who recognize the skills needed to create
solutions. Sometimes those skills are contained within a single
individual, sometimes within a team. So long as the four elements are
present, invention will happen.
Headscratchers, LLC enhances the problem solving skills of people, resulting
in more innovative and successful solutions. We do this by
combining the cognitive skills that people already possess, with building
blocks such as logic, invention and leadership. We specialize in
the application of this process towards Product, Services and Operational
challenges and partner with you to solve these business Headscratchers.
Previous editions of Headscratcher Posts at The
Headscratcher Post - Archives.
The Next edition will cover “Gedanken Experiments”
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