R&D teams face what, at first glance, seems like an impossible challenge. They must invent solutions to the problems their customers, coworkers, and industry face. These innovations should be novel enough that they can be protected and commercialized. However, if you make a new product or system too much of a departure from current widely used solutions, you run the risk that your invention won’t be adopted—or brought to market at all.
Contrary to popular belief, inventions that are both novel and useful are rarely born from a single, random “Aha!” moment. Instead, they’re the hard-won product of a structured approach to R&D, or systematic innovation.
A Systematic Approach to Innovation
Broadly, systematic innovation is ongoing structured ideation and development that uses specific methodologies to arrive at potentially novel solutions.
TRIZ, or The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, is one such methodology. TRIZ methodology operates under the assumption that there is likely an existing solution to your problem. No problem is truly new and no solution is really undiscovered. This systematic innovation process starts with a clear understanding and concise description of the root problem. When this problem is generalized, it can be compared to similar problems with existing solutions, which may be considered as potential solutions to the problem at hand.
Systematic Inventive Thinking
Systematic Inventive Thinking, while based on TRIZ methodology, attempts to innovate with only what exists in a product’s “closed world,” including the product itself and its environment. This methodology uses specific rules for modifying a product’s features that encourage a systematic approach to innovation:
- Task Unificaiton
- Attibute Dependency Change
The constraints created by the closed world approach can actually increase creative problem solving as well.
Systematic Innovation with IQ Ideas Plus™
There are other structured ways to arrive at novel ideas, as well as tools that can guide your R&D department through the process. IP.com’s IQ Ideas Plus uses Cause and Effect Analysis or System Improvement Analysis to help engineers and inventors define their problems and search prior art to spark novel solutions. Then, the innovation workflow helps R&D and IP teams collaborate to bring new technologies to market, faster.