Innovation Tools and Techniques

As with all initiatives, innovation is best served in a project environment. And a project is best ordered with a team approach. So innovation becomes successful with a culture in the organisation that promotes initiative, ideation, transparent value analysis of ideas, and prompt and efficient implementation and exploitation.

Each key stage in innovation is aided by techniques and tools as aides to achieving valuable outputs that serve the pipeline towards exploitation of new ideas.

Many techniques exist to promote the generation of ideas. Typically called creativity tools, they frequently are associated with a workshop style approach to the generation and qualification of ideas. While an idea comes from an individual, many consider that it emerges most effectively in a supportive group environment. The traditional workshop is described as brainstorming. This approach can be greatly enhanced by use of tools, each of which will have a different effect, for example ‘random word’ use and ‘ideas to concept’ use can aid increase in numbers of ideas, De Bono’s Six Hats can modify the tendency for immediate criticism of new ideas, QFD can be used as an aid to classification. Ideas are consolidated and translated into concepts in order to evaluate them. Valuation of ideas is supported by Six Hats, and by many other techniques such as Function Analysis and other techniques with the area of Value Management.

When ideas are brought in from external sources, they will have typically evolved to well defined concepts, and validated through market research, through prototyping with one of more designs, and by test marketing, and perhaps protected through patenting.

Design is a critical phase and is supported by many design tools. Where a physical size and shape are important as in automobiles and household appliances then 3D CAD models and physical models are produced. Indeed modelling forms an important part of design in very many products. Prototypes that address a single aspect of a product is frequently employed, as example a system may have a paper model to show its navigation. Scaling is becoming more important with certain products and services. In the pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries, chemical engineering models address its ability for mass production while maintaining product integrity. In software for social networking, the use of distributed databases, partitioning of data, memory caching, and architectural layers with loose coupling contribute to increased performance.



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