Thursday, July 30, 2009

Innovation Workshop at ARAI, Pune

I conducted a one-day workshop for engineers and scientists at the Automotive Research association of India, Pune last week.

You will find the Presentation Material "Innovation Flow" at my LinkedIn page:


My friend Prashant (PhD Mech Eng from IIT Bombay, > 10 Yrs Industrial excperience and expert on Automotive technology) facilitated this session. I used the first half of the day teaching tools to define and analyze the Problem. We used Five-Whys for root-cause analysis, Nine windows to capture the breadth of the problem and TRIZ Function Mapping to identify the key interactions between various elements. We listed about 15 precisely defined technical problem statements at the end of this exercise.

We had a grand lunch at the ARAI Caffetaria and had a lively discussion with the participants over lunch. The ARAI folks were very enthusiastic about learning Innovation tools and they were all deep domain experts.


In the noon session, we formulated TRIZ technical contradiction, used the Contradiction Matrix and discussed the Inventive Principles. The session started at 9.30am and went on till 5.30 pm. The session was kept very interactive and the ARAI team participated enthusiastically in the various problem solving exercises. Despite the grand lunch, nobody looked sleepy during the post-lunch session :).


We agreed to have a follow up session next on focused brainstorming of Ideas using TRIZ Triggers and Evaluation of Ideas using Six Hats method.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ideality directs Innovation Flow

The Idea of using Ideality concept to direct the Innovation Flow was popularized by TRIZ. IFR - Ideal Final Result - is a central concept of TRIZ. This is about visualizing what is the ideal situation to be in - what does it look like - what happens when this Ideal situation is realized. This visualization is practised without being constrained by what is possible (today) & what is not. IFR is about escaping from current constraints and thinking about an ideal situation. IFR is a powerful concept that can be used well beyond technical problem solving.

My Mantra for Innovative Problem Solving is Focus - Escape - Move. Focus on all the zones and dimensions of the problem - i use tool slike 9 Windows and 5 Whys. The next stage is to escape from the present Paradigms - i use TRIZ tools Function Maps and Ideal Final Result here. The third stage is Move where i use the TRIZ Contradiction matrix and Inventive Principles. We will have more than one innovative solution after these three steps. Further i use the TRIZ evolution potential analysis to figure out what next.

The technology evolution S-curves are driven by improving Ideality. Ideality is defined as the ratio of the functional benefits to the sum of cost and harms for a given technology. One can evolve the technology by developing solutions that offer more benefits, less cost or less disadvantages. All these are in the positive direction of technology evolution. TRIZ tools help us with triggers to move from one S-curve to another. We will look at some interesting examples this week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When does Innovation flow ?

I believe there will be a day when Innovation flows. I visualise ideas flowing over many barriers and finally merging into the ocean of Innovation. The shape of the idea gets continously modified as it flows.

I used to talk about bridging the gap between Idea and Innovation. On deeper meditation, i realised it is not two distinct concepts that we need to bridge. It is one continuous concept.

Our Mind is structured to flow ideas into innovation in a continuous way. If we differentiate between the two & try to transform idea into innovation through a structured effort, then we are going against the flow of our Mind.

Do we know when the logical left or the creative right takes control of our thinking process - it happens in a very subtle way - we will be better off if we train these two guys to work synergestically.