Quickest Way to Improve Your Design or System, so Customers will Buy 

 July 3, 2022

By  Howard Cooper

‘Ever had a design constraint you struggled with for months? ‘Ever wondered how to make a product sell better than last year and beat the competition? Is there a way to make these improvements in minutes, rather than struggle for months or years?

Yesterday, I was standing in line at Riley’s Auto Parts store, waiting to get a 2004 Honda Accord gear shift handle release button.

The guy ahead of me, in line, then stepped up to the counter. He was was turning in his old worn “front disk brakes” for new ones. He set his old disk brakes up on the check-out desk for the clerk to examine.

As I stood there looking at the disk brakes I was instantly reminded of the 8th and 11th Innovation Principles, “Weight Compensation” and “Beforehand Compensation”. I could see that whoever designed these disk brakes had reduced the weight of these heavy iron disks by applying these two principles, by designing hollow spaces between iron radial support ridges between the opposing disk surfaces. 

I could see how that reduced weight and cost of the disks (that’s innovative). But then, the 4th, and 22nd Principles, “Asymmetry” and “Convert Harm to Bennefit” poped up in my mind and suggested to me, “just tilting the angle of those radial hollow spaces forward, rather then being exactly radial from the disk center, would cause a great innovative improvement. The hollow spaces would then capture and force air through these spaces to cool the disks as they turn. ‘Like a squirel-cage fan:

or centrifugal pump.

Wow! that would improve the life and performance of disk brakes, at Zero Cost. ‘Maybe even prevent or reduce the likelihood of race-car brakes “flaming out”? 

So, there you go. If you or a friend want to patent better disk brakes, or give the idea to your son, or grandson who is a disk brake engineer. Go ahead. I haven’t got time to mess with it. But, great solutions pop-up all the time, when you know the 40 Innovations Principles.

Note: By the way, if you would like a copy of the “Innovator’s Key” for yourself, to memorize the 40 Innovation Principles, or just refer to them, email me and I’ll send it to you. Provide your name, what you do, maybe what problem you’re working on now.

About the author

Howard C. Cooper is a Design for Six Sigma Black Belt, Systems Engineer and founder of i3DAY Innovation. Over the past decade he coached 26 different product development teams at General Dynamics through solving their most critical challenges; design constraints, safety, reliability, etc. All 26 design and development projects were accepted in critical design peer reviews. All 26 were adopted by the U.S. Army, currently saving $233 million per year, over the legacy systems they had been using.

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