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Systematic Innovation: in Which Way?

| On 01, Jan 2010

Message: 1536
Posted by: Claude Meylan
Posted on: Friday, 16th January 2009

Systematic Innovation is often used as a label for the best ever thought about innovation. But what does it mean exactly? Is it another title for TRIZ (see Terninko/Zusman/Zlotin) or, even, DFSS? Is it the result of an individual approach with help of heuristics aiming at the broadest range of value ideas? Or does it mean everybody will be involved in the idea gathering process? Does “systematic” rely on the method only? If yes, does this mean that the approach is not participative?

Message: 1537
Posted by: Ellen Domb
Posted on: Friday, 16th January 2009

There's no simple answer to Claude's question.  “Systematic Innovation” is the name of Darrell Mann's series of books, (UK) and his website and the global  network (12 countries and growing) of consultants affiliated through Systematic Innovation Network.  But it is also the title of some of Valeri Souchkov's classes (Netherlands) and of Randal Marin's (Costa Rica) website AND the title of a book that Karen Tate and I did for GOAL/QPC in 1997, TRIZ:  An Introduction to Systematic Innovation.   The majority of these mean TRIZ, usually enhanced by some other methods that the consultant has found helpful, so it certainly should be part of DFSS.   I've never seen any implications that the “systematic” nature means excluding participation by any group of people (suppliers, customers, or employees.) OR specifically including any particular group.   Usually, understanding the customers' needs is part of DFSS, but not part of TRIZ or Systematic Innovation, which are used when you understand the customers needs but need innovation to figure out how to satisfy those needs.    

Message: 1538
Posted by: Valeri Souchkov
Posted on: Saturday, 17th January 2009

My motivation to use the term “Systematic Innovation” (which has already been in use since 1992-1993) was to name a general umbrella covering classical TRIZ and new approaches and techniques being developed to make working with TRIZ more effective but not yet officially recognized as parts of TRIZ. In general, the term means that the entire process of front-end of innovation can be supported with systematic methods rather than with chaotic and random techniques. Thus, Systematic Innovation = TRIZ + complementary methods/techniques + processes.

The use of systematic methods does not reduce collaborative work, instead it helps to make it more effective. In our consulting practices we use TRIZ (or Systematic Innovation) by working with customer cross-disciplinary teams in a number of group sessions. The participants do not have to know TRIZ since we guide the process but their role is provide input for different parts of the process including problem analysis and discussions, ideas generation and evaluation.  

And I want to add to Ellen's comment: there is some recent work done by TRIZ professionals which also targets developing methods to understand and reveal customer needs, both current and future (e.g, Vladimir Petrov's work on the trends of evolution of customer needs; application of 9 Windows to predict future needs; my work on reverse needs discovery, etc), so these can also belong to Systematic Innovation as well.

Message: 1541
Posted by: Prakash
Posted on: Monday, 19th January 2009

I asked this question myself when I was allowed to decide my designation few years back in the company I work now. Obviously, instead of just an innovation facilitator title, I opted the prefix as “Systematic” due to my interaction with Darrell and his books right from the beginning. However, over the last 3 years, I have found the word “Systematic” is appropriate with the TRIZ based innovation. I think the word “systematic” is not a fancy title for the TRIZ way of problem solving (or innovation). As Valeri mentioned here, and what I have seen from Darrell, it is important to put a structure to think effectively from the problem space to solution space. Unlike other methodologies, where using one technique all along during the process, systematic way of doing things can help us identifying the right techniques at the right time. Apart from all these, Systematic Innovation framework is more than TRIZ. There are several other tools and techniques we can bring on to the framework to use as and when we required (again depends on the problems/situation). From my experience (and from Darrell’s book),I don’t think this process can be ad-hoc, but need a structure to do so for maximum benefit.One simple e.g of systematic innovation Ð I start every situation/problem with a 9-Windows and a MindMap, then depends on the situation, use IFR, then try to identify contradictions, use resources, and so on..

Message: 1553
Posted by: Jack Hipple
Posted on: Tuesday, 27th January 2009

I'd like to add to what Ellen has inputted, but in a more general way. Regardless of what set of TRIZ tools or process is used, different viewpoints are not only OK, but essential. I have found it very enlightening to take a group of people from a company group or a public teaching group and deliberately separate them, and then ask each to define “Ideal Final Result”, list available resources, list the contradictions that are seen, etc. The input NEVER comes back the same. The discussion around these points is frequently more valuable than the solutions proposed. This approach is also true about any of the software products that do cause and effect modeling as a precursor to problem solution. Dividing the group and having each diagram a problem is also very enlightening, especially when there are different corporate functions involved (research, manufacturing, sales, etc.). If you want an exercise to try this out, just take a group and have them pretend to be in a “health care” situation. Ask them to define the IFR from the standpoint of the doctor, the nurse, the hospital, the insurance company, and the patient advocate.

I have given several presentations about this.