Home > Articles > Business & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

1.5 Fundamentals of Inventing–Innovating a Product, Service, or Process

Invention

Introduction

I’ll bet at some point in your life you had a great idea for a new product or service. All your friends agreed that it was a great idea. Well, that great idea was the beginning of the invention and innovation processes.

Lee Kaplowitz of Los Angeles had a great idea. His was to invent a litmus paper test for the presence of caffeine in decaffeinated coffee. Lee noticed that most decaffeinated coffee drinkers ask of the waitperson, "Is that decaf?" Lee had an inspiration that could lead to an invention and innovation.

Definition

Invention is the process of creating new products, services, or processes that are usable in accomplishing human objectives that were formerly difficult or impossible. The first club used by a caveman to kill animals to feed his family is an example of an invention.

Inventions and History

Some of the most significant inventions were created before recorded history; for example, crude tools, weapons, speech, cultivation of plants, domestication of animals, building techniques, production and control of fire, pottery, political systems, and the wheel. The period of recorded history began with the invention of cuneiform script by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia in about 3000 b.c.

Innovation

Definition

Innovation is the process by which invention is put to use for the betterment of humanity. Thomas Edison was both an inventor (of the electric light bulb) and an innovator because he was critical to the electrification of New York City and the establishment of the General Electric Company.

Reasons for Innovation

Innovations are created for five reasons. They are discussed next.

  • Reason 1: Build competitive advantage in target markets, and increase market share by offering products, services, or processes that are preferred above those of competitors. Innovation offers an organization the opportunity to take a step ahead of its competitors for the customer’s positive attention and resources.
  • Reason 2: Increase profitability by introducing more profitable lines. Innovation aids organizations in creating products, services, and processes that yield higher profit margins than those of their competitors.
  • Reason 3: Build a reputation for technological excellence by introducing state-of-the-art products. Innovation provides an opportunity for organizations to enhance their image of being a provider who is on the frontier of their core discipline.
  • Reason 4: Counteract the effects of downsizing on stakeholders by creating new employment opportunities through upsizing [see Reference 7]. Downsizing is a term used to describe an organizational layoff policy whose purpose is to reduce costs. Upsizing is a term used to describe an organizational product creation focus whose purpose is to create new employment opportunities to mitigate the uncertainties caused by downsizing. Innovation provides an organization with the opportunity to create products, services, and processes, and hence, upsize.
  • Reason 5: Creating exportable products for developing countries. Frequently, developing countries experience great economic difficulties due to unstable governments, an uneducated work force, variable and poor quality raw materials, and rampant inflation. In the face of such unfavorable conditions for economic health, developing countries need to export products that enjoy a non-competitive marketplace. They need protection from industrialized countries that do not suffer from the same economic woes. This can be accomplished by creating, producing, and selling innovative products, services, and processes that enjoy the legal protection of patents, copyrights, and trademarks.

Eight Methods for Invention and Innovation

There are eight methods available for creating inventions and innovations.

  • Method 1: Exploit core technologies; for example, using excellence in electrical engineering and physics to create new electronic products.
  • Method 2: Capitalize on particularly excellent common operating elements; for example, using unusually excellent repair service or unusually short delivery times.
  • Method 3: Pray for an inspiration; for example, luckily thinking to put an eraser on the end of a pencil.
  • Method 4: Conduct scientific research; for example, studying computer science to develop a laptop computer.
  • Method 5: Use expertise in specialized functional areas; for example, using excellence in quality control to create dependability and reliability (e.g., McDonald’s or Marriott).
  • Method 6: Identify the unmet needs of known customers; for example, conducting market research to provide faster delivery time of office supplies or longer battery life for laptop computers.
  • Method 7: Study "lead users" to identify the unknown needs of customers. Lead users are consumers of a product, service, or process who are months or years ahead of regular users in their use of the item and who will benefit greatly by the innovation. For example, a lead user of a hair dryer may attach a portable battery pack and use it as a body warmer at football games played in cold weather. In this example, studying lead users resulted in the invention of a "personal body warmer."
  • Method 8: Study the unstated (or unknown) problems of existing users through observational studies. Ideas to surpass customers’ unknown needs and wants do not come from direct queries to customers, but rather from the manufacturer’s observations of the problems customers encounter while using products and services. An example of a product created using this method is a camera with automatic load [see Reference 8].

In 1974, the camera market was saturated with cameras that satisfied customers’ current needs; cameras were reliable, relatively inexpensive to use, and produced good pictures. This created a nightmare for the camera industry. Consequently, Konica decided to ask consumers: "What else would you like in a camera?" Consumers replied that they were satisfied with their cameras. Unfortunately, asking consumers what else they would like in a camera did not yield the information Konica needed to create a breakthrough. In response to this situation, Konica studied negatives at film-processing laboratories and discovered that the first few pictures on many rolls were overexposed, indicating that users had difficulty in loading film into the cameras. This presented an opportunity to innovate camera technology. The customer could not have been expected to think of this innovation. In response to this analysis, Konica developed the automatic-loading camera. This is an excellent example of the eighth method for innovating current products, services, or processes.

Simple Examples of the Invention and Innovation Process

All inventions and innovations do not have to be generated from complex, theoretical, and radical ideas. Sometimes, they come from the simplest of ideas. For example, whoever thought it was possible to create an improved corkscrew? Yet, in the last decade or two, a new corkscrew was invented. This corkscrew has wings or handles that allows the corkscrew to pull the cork out of the bottle.

Another example of a product that you might not think could be improved is the teabag. Surprise! Lipton invented a teabag with two strings that allow the user to squeeze the last drops of tea out of the bag without burning his or her fingers. Ingenious!

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is the method used by a Six Sigma project team to invent and innovate products, services, and processes. DFSS can be used to design entirely new products, services, and processes, or major new features of existing products, services, or processes that are consistently reliable and able to be produced, delivered, or carried out and uniformly surpass customer requirements. Additionally, DFSS creates designs that are: (1) based on stakeholder needs and wants; (2) resource efficient; (3) minimal in complexity; (4) capable of generating high yields; (5) robust to process variations; and (6) quick to generate a profit.

An organization can reap many benefits from employing the DFSS methodology. The list of benefits includes: launching projects on time and on budget; reaping additional incremental revenues sooner; achieving greater market share; minimizing problems uncovered at launch; improving rolled throughput yield (RTY) significantly; ensuring quality and efficient production; and differentiating products, services, and processes due to a customer focus.

Fundamental Principles of "Design for Six Sigma"

DFSS is a method that embodies several principles. The first principle is for all areas within an organization to simultaneously design the product, service, and/or process to minimize future problems. The second principle is to design the product, service, and/or process to minimize variability in CTQs and maximize customer satisfaction. The third principle is to design a process capable of delivering the quantity and quality of products or services desired by customers in a timely fashion. The fourth principle is to include suppliers early in the design process. These four principles are the bedrock of the DFSS method.

Leverage from Professional Design Methods

Research has shown [see Reference 5] that 70% of the cost influence (or total cost) of a product or service (including warranty costs and insurance costs) incurred by a producer or supplier is due to poor design. This cost is largely avoidable if producers and suppliers would invest more resources into designing their products and services. In other words, if suppliers and producers would increase their actual cost expenditures in the design function, then their total costs would decrease. Table 1.2 shows the relationships between actual costs and total costs for the different components of products and services.

Table 1.2 Cost Comparisons

 

Actual Cost

Cost Influence (Total Cost)

Overhead

30%

5%

Labor

15%

5%

Material

50%

20%

Design

5%

70%

Total

100%

100%


The DMADV Model for Invention and Innovation

The DMADV model is the Six Sigma method for innovating existing products, services, or processes; or for creating entirely new products, services, or processes. DMADV is an acronym for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify/Validate.

The Define Phase of a Six Sigma DMADV project involves developing a business case with a project objective and establishing a schedule and guidelines for the design review process. The Measure Phase involves identifying the market segments for potential designs, developing critical parameters for high-level designs, developing targets and tolerances for the critical parameters, preparing design scorecards for the critical parameters, and reviewing intellectual property. The Analyze Phase involves generating high-level conceptual designs, evaluating the high-level conceptual designs, and selecting the best design. The Design Phase involves developing detailed designs. This requires that team members construct detailed specifications, schematics, and blueprints for processes, services, and products. Additionally, team members develop detailed designs for ancillary processes (i.e., Human Resources and Information Technology, to name a few). Finally, the Verify/Validate Phase involves conducting a pilot test of the detailed design; confirming the design outputs will yield product or service specifications; reviewing designs with respect to all potential users and possible uses, and, if necessary, improving designs; establishing appropriate control and monitoring systems to ensure designs meet and maintain goals throughout production or ongoing service life; and transferring the design to the process owner with a functioning control plan.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020