Gentlemen, Start Your Innovation Engines 

 July 15, 2015

By  Howard Cooper

Genrich Altshuller (1926 – 1998) demonstrated how any system—existing, under invention, hardware, software, process or otherwise—any system, can easily be checked for completeness and autonomy by comparing its subsystems to the 5 basic subsystems of a car.  An ingenious thought.  Like a car, any complete system must have these 5 subsystems:

diagram showing sub-systems of an automobile

Other subsystems may be added for convenience, entertainment, or added control, but like the eight subsystems of the i3DAYinnovation model above, any complete system must have at least the first five.

The Lean Manufacturing and Theory of Constraint experts of the late 70’s and early 80’s were all about increased Efficiency and Throughput.  The Six Sigma Black Belts of the 80’s & 90’s were all about Quality (Repeatability) in manufacturing.  Then in the late 1990’s these were combined and Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Black Belts brought lean efficiency and quality into the design process.

But now we are in a new century.  Change agents are required and the need is for expert coaches and facilitators of innovation, so your company can survive the next drop-off of your product or service’s S-Curve.  New products, new services and new capabilities will rebuild and boost the economy of the next two or three decades.  That requires focused, continuous and structured innovation.  “Gentlemen, start your engines!” Got a great innovation ‘engine’ and ‘wheels’, but no ‘transmission’ or drive-train?  “The race is on.”

Subscribe to our Blog and over the next few weeks we will discuss:

  • The 12 Tribes of Innovation
  • The 7 habits (methods) of highly effective innovators (TRIZ being 1 of 7)
  • The 5 local resources for doing the seemingly impossible
  • The 3 categories of innovative problem solving
  • The 40 principles which empower quick and effective innovation
  • How the 7 Innovation Methods must be integrated into one complete system for rapid and effective innovation.

I will describe these mutually exclusive methods (subsystems) more specifically, with their author-founders, going back to Edison and Tesla and the more recent, such as Peter Drucker, Chesbrough and Clayton Christensen, etc. and how these methods can be integrated together to yield a complete innovation system or methodology.  You may find yourself, in the not too distant future, coaching one hour or three-day think tank sessions, or managing an innovation project from beginning to end.  We look forward to being a valued asset to your innovation efforts.

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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  1. Hi Howard,
    Stopped by your office a few times. Looked like you were busy.
    Still your innovation program is the best.
    Need to get up to speed and in more detail.
    Will stop by again to say hello and get up to date.
    Also, if I have not requested before, add me to your innovation newsletter.


    Manny Crizaldo

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