Popular belief says that innovation does not follow a process. That innovation requires moments of brilliance and magic for very special individuals. Believing such notions like this is not only pushing you from the truth, but preventing you from harnessing on your full innovative potential. Okay, so maybe I’ve got your attention. How do can you innovate? Well, by the title, I will show you a proven approach on how to innovate a product in five simple steps. Don’t see this as the end all be all. Don’t see this as an easy way to create the next best product. See this as a tool that you can use anytime, anywhere to create innovative ideas.
A brief preface before we jump in. This innovation method that I will briefly cover for you here is called Systematic Inventive Thinking. Systematic Inventive Thinking is an innovation method that follows the idea that a majority of the products and services around us are a result of one of five processes. Today, I will show you one of those processes called the Task Unification Technique. For more information on Systematic Inventive Thinking, check out this article and this free innovation course that covers the ins and out of this method.
1. Select a product
Start by choosing an already existing product. Make sure it is something you are generally familiar with. For first timers, I typically say select a product that is less than 50 dollars and you know relatively well. It can be something as simple as a toothbrush or something like an IPhone, if you have a general understanding of the hardware and software.
2. List all of the internal and external components of the product
Now, list all of the internal and external components of the product that you selected in step one. Internal components include components of the product that are within your control. For a toothbrush, internal components include the brushes, the handle, and the head. External components are the opposite, components that are not within your control. For a toothbrush, possible external components include the type of toothpaste and the person brushing the teeth. Now you know why you should have at least a general understanding of the product you are working with.
3. Add a new or additional task
This step is the step where you apply the Task Unification technique of Systematic Inventive Thinking. Don’t rush, because chances are this is something very new to you. Take some time to make sure you are understanding the overall process.
a) Choose an external component and use it to perform something the product already accomplishes
b) Choose an internal component and make it do something new or extra
c) Choose an internal component and make it perform the function of an external component
4. Visualize this new product
Now simply visualize your newly created product or service. Write it down, sketch it out, and explain it to someone. At this stage, do not start judging your product, simply visualize it. You should not be worrying about it quite yet.
5. Sell it
Now you need to judge it. Sort of. You need to now sell your product. Ask yourself, Who would buy this product? Why would they buy this product? What new values does this product bring to the market? If you simply cannot find any potential values, no worries, simple go back to step three and perform the step again with a different component. That is the beauty of Systematic Inventing Thinking. Well, believe it or not, you now know how to innovate a product in five simple steps.