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© Center For Advantage - 2005 How to Use Innovation Planner Cards for Problem Solving Robert Cantrell Center For Advantage

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Presentation on theme: "© Center For Advantage - 2005 How to Use Innovation Planner Cards for Problem Solving Robert Cantrell Center For Advantage"— Presentation transcript:

1 © Center For Advantage How to Use Innovation Planner Cards for Problem Solving Robert Cantrell Center For Advantage (703)

2 © Center For Advantage Contents Innovation Planner Description Basic Problem Solving 1. Identify the Problem 2. Create a Cause and Effects Net 3. Initial Problem Solving Effort 4. Expanding the Solution Advanced Problem Solving  Concept  Resolve Contradictions  Consider Organizational Resources  Center of Gravity  Decision Cycle Games Additional Resources

3 © Center For Advantage Innovation Planner Description Card Types Card Type Designs Deck Layout

4 © Center For Advantage Innovation Planner Description Innovation Planner™ is a 170 card set of innovation strategies and solutions used for rapid, effective, and efficient problem solving and idea generation It is based on the Ideation TRIZ innovation methodology that was derived from the analysis of over 3 million patents and 500 standard patterns of technical evolutionIdeation TRIZ innovation methodology

5 © Center For Advantage Card Types There are 7 types of cards in the Innovation Planner deck 1. Operators – Solutions for systems that provide the ways to solve problems – 85 cards 2. Resources – Properties and attributes of systems that provide the means to solve problems – 37 cards 3. Center of Gravity – Location within the system where a solution is or could be applied – 16 cards 4. Concept – Idea behind how the problem will be solved – 7 cards 5. Decision Cycle – Strategic parameters of how the problem will be solved – 7 cards 6. Organizational Resources – The capacity of the supporting organization to provide the ways and means to solve problems (These are solution constraints.) – 9 cards 7. Resolve Contradictions – Methods for which a system can exhibit two or more conflicting properties or attributes – 5 cards

6 © Center For Advantage Card Types Operator and Resource cards are used in both Basic Problem Solving and Advance Problem Solving The other 5 card types are used in Advanced Problem Solving

7 © Center For Advantage Operators Resources Resolve Contradictions Concept Center of Gravity Decision Cycle Organizational Resources Card Type Designs Card type designs appear as follows

8 © Center For Advantage Deck Layout Card deck layout appears as below

9 © Center For Advantage Basic Problem Solving Basic Problem Solving Steps Steps 1 to 4 Additional Note For Brainstorming

10 © Center For Advantage Basic Problem Solving Steps The four steps for Basic Problem Solving include: 1. Identify the Problem 2. Create a Cause and Effect Chain or Net (Optional) 3. Initial Problem Solving Effort 4. Expanding the Solution

11 © Center For Advantage Basic Problem Solving Steps Basic Problem Solving involves just the 85 Operator cards and the 37 Resource cards Separate these cards from the deck and proceed to step 1

12 © Center For Advantage Step 1: Identify the Problem

13 © Center For Advantage Step 1: Identify the Problem Ask and answer: 1. What is the problem? 2. What is the cause of the problem? 3. What is the effect of the problem?

14 © Center For Advantage Step 1: Identify the Problem Yields Cause Effect Fire Boiling Water For example, consider a problem involving a vat of boiling water

15 © Center For Advantage Step 1: Identify the Problem The water being too hot is the problem The cause is the fire under the vat The effect of the fire is the boiling water

16 © Center For Advantage Step 1: Identify the Problem The problem is a point of view and describes how a cause or effect impacts us The cause and the effect, however, are objective facts – i.e. fire will make water boil regardless of our point of view on the matter Your goal is to change some aspect of the cause, the effect, or the impact of the effect on you so that you no longer have a problem

17 © Center For Advantage Step 1: Identify the Problem Sometime knowing the problem, its cause, and its effect provides enough information to solve the problem. If so, skip to step 3 of Basic Problem Solving Sometime knowing the problem, cause, and effect is not enough to solve the problem. If so, go to step 2 of Basic Problem Solving

18 © Center For Advantage Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net

19 © Center For Advantage Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net A basic problem has a cause and an effect However this cause and effect does not take place in isolation Yields Cause Effect Fire Boiling Water

20 © Center For Advantage Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net Another cause yielded your cause and your effect will act as a cause for another effect Yields Cause Effect Fire Boiling Water Yields Cause Effect Match Lights Fire Wood Yields Cause Effect Skin Injury Boiling Water

21 © Center For Advantage Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net Identify Root Causes – Think of your original cause as an effect and describe its preceding cause Identify Ripple Effects – Think of your original effect as a cause for another effect and describe that next effect Repeat backwards and forwards from the original problem as many times and with as many branches as makes sense

22 © Center For Advantage Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net A cause and effect net develops that is limitless in depth Yields Cause Effect Fire Boiling Water Root Causes “Ripple” Effects

23 © Center For Advantage Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net Your goal is to create your desired result as effectively and efficiently as possible anywhere along the cause and effects net that you can

24 © Center For Advantage Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net Example – If your goal is to prevent skin injury from the boiling water in a vat, you could:  Keep the match from lighting the wood  Remove the wood  Douse the fire  Cool the water  Protect or cool the skin  Take the skin out of the system  Etc

25 © Center For Advantage Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net So if your available resource was a single glass of cold water, your best solution for the problem “the water is too hot” might be to douse the fire, or better yet, douse the match, or better yet, wet the match so it never lights at all, etc

26 © Center For Advantage Step 2: Create a Cause and Effects Chain or Net The more extensive your cause and effects net, and the earlier you deal with the problem, the more options you have to solve that problem

27 © Center For Advantage Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort

28 © Center For Advantage Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort In step 3, you will start using the cards to help you solve the problem Each card used in Basic Problem Solving has a:  Strategy – What to do  Basis – Why it works  Question – How might I do it

29 © Center For Advantage Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort Browse the Operator cards first for possible ideas to change the cause or the effect If you have set up a cause and effects chain or net in step 2, consider any of the causes or effects in the system

30 © Center For Advantage Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort Consider each card:  Is it useful?  Can you use it?  How might you use it?

31 © Center For Advantage Step 3: Initial Problem Solving Effort Sometimes the strategy and basis are enough to solve the problem. If so, record your solution Sometimes the strategy and basis are not enough to solve the problem. If so, go to step 4 If the strategy is not useful, choose another card

32 © Center For Advantage Step 4: Expanding the Solution

33 © Center For Advantage Step 4: Expanding the Solution If you believe a strategy is useful but do not know how to make it happen, read the question on the card and look for your answer within another Operator card or within a Resource card

34 © Center For Advantage Step 4: Expanding the Solution For example, lets suppose the problem is that your combination of digital camera, computer, and printer is not portable enough The cause of the problem is the need for three separate elements in the system, the digital camera, computer, and printer The effect is the existence of a three piece system that is difficult for an individual to move around

35 © Center For Advantage Step 4: Expanding the Solution One possible solution is to “Assemble Something Original” How might I combine distinct elements, digital camera, computer, printer, to produce something new that solves my portability problem?

36 © Center For Advantage Step 4: Expanding the Solution Perhaps you could “Remove Unnecessary Parts” In this example you combine a digital camera and printer but do so without the computer

37 © Center For Advantage Step 4: Expanding the Solution Without the computer, you only have two elements in the system instead of three which helps to solve the portability problem So how might you remove unnecessary elements from the system?

38 © Center For Advantage Step 4: Expanding the Solution Perhaps the answer is on another Operator card Or perhaps the answer is on a Resource card Resource cards provide the means to make ideas described in the Operator cards happen

39 © Center For Advantage Step 4: Expanding the Solution Perhaps, as described on a Resource card, you could “Use Properties to Convey Information” In this example, you use information from the digital camera to communicate directly with the printer So how might you use properties to convey information? The answer is on another card, etc

40 © Center For Advantage Step 4: Expanding the Solution The strategy on any given card may serve as the answer to any other given card The details of how to use a strategy require your expertise in your particular domain “Remove Unnecessary Part” may mean something different to an automobile manufacturer versus a software engineer even though the underlying principle is the same

41 © Center For Advantage Additional Note For Brainstorming You can use the problem solving process described here for brainstorming exercises by asking why you might use a given strategy for your product without a specific problem in mind – i.e. Why might I assemble something original, camera and printer, to remove the computer? From a marketing perspective, you could ask why this idea matters and might find that it solves a portability problem for a large enough market to prove interesting

42 © Center For Advantage Advance Problem Solving Advanced Problem Solving Process Concept Cards Resolve Contradictions Cards Organizational Resources Cards Center of Gravity Cards Decision Cycle Cards

43 © Center For Advantage Advance Problem Solving Process Advanced Problem Solving brings other cards within the Innovation Planner Card Deck into play for more comprehensive and complete solutions

44 © Center For Advantage Advanced Problem Solving Process Advanced Problem Solving adds any or all of:  Concept Cards  Resolve Contradictions Cards  Organizational Resources Cards  Center of Gravity Cards  Decision Cycle Cards. Start by setting these cards aside into their respective decks

45 © Center For Advantage Advanced Problem Solving Process Steps 1 – 4 of Basic Problem Solving apply to Advanced Problem Solving To begin Advanced Problem Solving, proceed with steps 1 – 4 of the Basic Problem Solving process As you proceed with steps 1 – 4 of the Basic Problem Solving process, use the cards for Advanced Problem Solving anywhere and at any time in that Basic Problem Solving process

46 © Center For Advantage Advanced Problem Solving Process Although any problem solving process has linear steps, the problem solving process is actually not linear You can therefore use cards for Advanced Problem Solving to jump in and out of the Basic Problem Solving process anywhere and at any time it makes sense to do so

47 © Center For Advantage Advanced Problem Solving Process Advanced Problem Solving adds more possibilities to the Basic Problem Solving process Basic Problem Solving Advanced Problem Solving

48 © Center For Advantage Advanced Problem Solving Process Since Innovation Planning Cards are unbound cards, they can be rearranged in any way and at any time in the process This means the cards, like the problem solving process, are non-linear in nature Apply each as follows:

49 © Center For Advantage Concept

50 © Center For Advantage Concept Concept cards let you identify the underlying principle for how you will solve a problem

51 © Center For Advantage Concept With Concept Cards you set a plan for how you create the most effective and efficient solution possible that avoids the need for compromise

52 © Center For Advantage Concept A central idea behind Concept Cards is the concept of ideality Achieving ideality means that you solve a problem without any underlying mechanism This means you receive all benefits and no drawbacks

53 © Center For Advantage Concept Ideality is a theoretical concept, very rarely attained in reality For example, ideal business transportation between cities would happen instantaneously and involve no vehicles Such a transportation system is implausible

54 © Center For Advantage Concept What is the purpose for ideality then? Answer: The ideal solution provides a target for you to direct your problem solving effort The closer your solution evolves toward the ideal, the better that solution is likely to be

55 © Center For Advantage Concept Emulating the ideal provides many useful solutions For example, the telephone allows your voice to travel instantly between cities which often allows you to solve problems just as well as physically traveling between cities Furthermore, through conference calls, you can effectively be in many cities at once Add video, and you can travel instantaneously through virtual space

56 © Center For Advantage Concept The optimal solution, unlike the ideal, is usually an attainable target The optimal solution is neither too good nor not good enough to perform its intended task

57 © Center For Advantage Concept The most competitive solutions tend to be the solutions optimal for their tasks Solutions that are either too good or not good enough tend to fail when competing with optimal solutions

58 © Center For Advantage Concept You see proof of this fact in the natural world In the natural world, underperformers lose In the natural world, overly high performers also lose  Why? Performance comes at a cost. If that performance is not necessary, it is a wasted cost that the optimized competitor does not pay

59 © Center For Advantage Concept Bottom line, know what is ideal and optimal so you know how your solution should evolve Even if you find a solution, consider if a more ideal or optimal solution exists before you make your final decision to implement that solution

60 © Center For Advantage Resolve Contradictions

61 © Center For Advantage Resolve Contradictions Resolve contradictions is a powerful problem solving method for which a system can exhibit two or more otherwise conflicting properties

62 © Center For Advantage Resolve Contradictions For example, by using a telephone to separate a voice from its speaker, that voice can travel to multiple cities instantly and at the same time Not too long ago, this idea would have been considered implausible

63 © Center For Advantage Resolve Contradictions To resolve contradictions, you divide some aspect of a system so that it can exhibit two or more otherwise incompatible properties

64 © Center For Advantage Resolve Contradictions For example, the traffic light is a way to allow cars headed in different directions to use the same intersection by separating traffic flow in time A bridge, to continue the example, allows uninterrupted traffic flow by separating traffic in space instead

65 © Center For Advantage Resolve Contradictions Separation Principles include:  Time  Space  Structure  Condition  Perception

66 © Center For Advantage Resolve Contradictions  To illustrate: Time – Cars cross the same intersections while traveling in different directions by crossing at different times Space – Cars travel in opposite directions along the same road by traveling on opposite sides of those roads Structure – Cars are solid as a whole to protect passengers yet flexible at points to cushion an impact Condition – Convertible cars protect you from rain yet allow you to make the most of nice days Perception – The same SUV is perfect for climbing mountains yet perfect for carrying soccer kids

67 © Center For Advantage Resolve Contradictions Bottom line: When you cannot solve a problem because you cannot resolve conflicting conditions, Resolve Contradiction cards help you separate the system into parts that allow you to solve the problem

68 © Center For Advantage Organizational Resources

69 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints During the problem solving process, you will have to deal with issues of abundance and scarcity Organizational resources provide your capacity to solve problems Lack of critical organizational resources causes problems Overabundance can also cause problems

70 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints Consider each of the Organizational Resource cards as it pertains to your problem. Do this in terms of:  Question  Ideal  Functional Ideal  Optimal

71 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints The question prompts you to consider a given resource as it pertains to your situation The ideal describes a solution that requires no mechanism The functional ideal describes a solution that is 100% oriented toward its intended task The optimal describes a solution that is no more and no less of a solution than necessary to accomplish its intended task

72 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints The bottom line goal of any problem solving effort is to succeed as effectively and efficiently as possible This usually means seeking solutions that evolve toward more ideal and optimal solutions

73 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints A solution will tend to evolve toward the ideal until it reaches the optimal threshold of good enough At the optimal threshold of good enough, any additional performance may not deliver any significant benefit Optimal Threshold of Good Enough Ideal Technical Evolution

74 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints For example, in a world with traffic congestions and speed limits, raising a car’s top speed from 120 MPH to 130 MPH – theoretically allowing you to travel between cities faster and hence closer to the ideal – would not make any practical difference

75 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints One exception comes into play This exception is the Appeal Factor Although inventions tend to evolve toward the ideal and reside at the optimal, the “Appeal Factor” can cause a different dynamic

76 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints For example, the airplane is closer to ideal and optimal than the ocean liner for traveling across oceans Ocean liners still exist, however, because of their entertainment value Many people find cruises to be an ideal/optimal way to spend their time

77 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints Always consider how the entertainment value of a solution will influence what is actually considered ideal or optimal

78 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints For another example, white is probably the closest color to ideal for a car in Florida since it is the easiest to see and clean plus it stays cool in the sun You would go out of business, however, if you sold only white cars in Florida because white is not always the psychological ideal

79 © Center For Advantage Consider Organizational Resources – Dealing with Constraints As a third example, even though a car with a top speed 130 MPH has little practical utility over a car with a top speed of 120 MPH, that capability might have psychological utility by making the car more appealing to a significant market

80 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity

81 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity The Center of Gravity is the element within a system that, by creating some change to that element, will produce your intended result A key part of problem solving is knowing where best to effect change

82 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity Center of Gravity cards prompt you to consider all physical and behavioral aspects of a system in order to achieve the desired effect (solved problem) with the minimal use of resources

83 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity For example, if you have a cup of cold water and an objective to cool down a vat of boiling water, you might best meet your objective by using the water to douse the fire under the vat instead of pouring it into the vat itself The fire would be your center of gravity for effecting the desired change in that system

84 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity All systems have elements and processes that turn input into output Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system

85 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity Your goal is to find the most effective and efficient place in a system to effect a desired change Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system

86 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity For example, computer assisted navigation might allow a burdened pilot to focus on other actions Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system

87 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity So if an overburdened pilot is your problem, the Instrument of Control is your likely Center of Gravity Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system

88 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity Your solution could start with “Increase User Friendliness” of navigation. How do you do that? Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system

89 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity Perhaps you “Provide for Self-Service” regarding navigation. So how do you do that? Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system

90 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity Perhaps you have airplane instruments read signals from fixed points automatically, etc. Input Output System Energy Source Transmission Instrument of Work Instrument of Control Subsystem Super system

91 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity In a cause and effects net, you look for where you can effect the most change with the least effort as a prime location for a solution Yields Cause Effect Fire Boiling Water Root Causes “Ripple” Effects

92 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity If you determine, for example, that the fire under the vat is your Center of Gravity, then you focus on dousing that fire

93 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity Rather than using the cup of cold water, however, perhaps you can increase efficiency by using the boiling water itself to douse that fire Then you can use the cup of cold water for something else

94 © Center For Advantage Center of Gravity Bottom line: Use the Center of Gravity cards to consider all aspect of where to best position a solution

95 © Center For Advantage Decision Cycle

96 © Center For Advantage Decision Cycle Decision Cycle cards involve how to make better decisions faster than your opposition

97 © Center For Advantage Decision Cycle Your objective is to win the race of decision cycles whereby your plan can not only work, but work despite active opposition to your success

98 © Center For Advantage Decision Cycle Competing successfully involves resolving your problems and directly or indirectly causing problems for your opposition For example, a solution that makes your product the best in its class creates a problem for a competitor that is now second best in its class

99 © Center For Advantage Decision Cycle Decision Cycle cards help you determine the way you can solve a problem that also makes strategic sense considering your opposition

100 © Center For Advantage Decision Cycle For example, in a world without competition, the airport might be the most lucrative place to set up a new car rental company Considering the established competition, however, you might better serve your objectives by instead setting up a specialized exotic car rental company downtown for the upwardly mobile

101 © Center For Advantage Decision Cycle Decision cycle also asks you to consider psychological and moral aspects of a problem along with physical aspects For example, the best physical solution to a problem that, as a byproduct, releases a new pollutant into the air might prove morally unsuitable

102 © Center For Advantage Decision Cycle Bottom Line: You will have opposition when your solutions create a problem for someone else Decision Cycle cards help you to orient your solutions so they will succeed despite active opposition from others

103 © Center For Advantage Games Description Solve It™ Evolve It™

104 © Center For Advantage Games Description You can play two games, Solve It™ and Evolve it™, using Innovation Planner Cards Solve It™ is a game version of the problem solving process described on these slides Evolve It™ is a game that uses the Innovation Planner cards to evolve a product into something better without necessarily having a problem in mind The game rules follow:

105 © Center For Advantage Solve It™: Methodology and Game for Solving Challenging Problems – 1 1. Place the Operator and Resource cards into two separate stacks. 2. Place the Resolve Contradictions cards face up. These serve as a guide for players. 3. Select a problem to solve. Describe what the problem is and what the problem means. 4. Build a cause and effects chain forward and backward from the problem. For example, if the problem is “The boat is too small, meaning I cannot carry cargo across the sea,” you might go forward with “I cannot carry cargo across the sea, meaning I have too much supply to sell at home.” You might go backward with “The water in my port is shallow, meaning I need a small boat to use the docks.” Go forward and backward at least two steps from the central problem.

106 © Center For Advantage Solve It™: Methodology and Game for Solving Challenging Problems – 2 5. Deal at least five Operator cards and three Resource cards to each player. 6. Allow each player, on successive turns, to apply an Operator or Resource card anywhere along the cause and effects chain, to include previously played cards, in a way that supports the resolution of the original problem. Draw cards to replace those used. 7. Use the other cards in the deck to set limitations and guidelines for the intended solution as per their Card Type Definitions, or use them to change the parameters of the game entirely. These cards may be played deliberately or randomly. 8. Play until the problem is solved or until cards run out.

107 © Center For Advantage Evolve It™: Methodology and Game for Inventing New or Better Products – 1 1. Place the Operator and Resource cards into two separate stacks. 2. Place the Resolve Contradictions cards face up. These serve as a guide for players. 3. Select an object to evolve into a new or better form. 4. Deal at least five Operator cards and three Resource cards to each player.

108 © Center For Advantage Evolve It™: Methodology and Game for Inventing New or Better Products – 2 5. Allow each player, on successive turns, to apply an Operator or Resource card that presents a possible evolution of the object. (Evolutions should generally follow the trend established by previously played cards.) Draw cards to replace those used. 6. Use the other cards in the deck to set limitations and guidelines for the evolution as per their Card Type Definitions, or use them to change the parameters of the game entirely. These cards may be played deliberately or randomly. 7. Play until you have completed a successful evolution or until cards run out.

109 © Center For Advantage Additional Resources This concludes How to Use Innovation Planner Cards for Problem Solving Additional resources appear at


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