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The Innovator's Toolkit: 50+ Techniques for Predictable and Sustainable Organic Growth, 2nd Edition by Neil DeCarlo, Philip Samuel, David Silverstein

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Technique 7

Heuristic Redefinition

Draw a picture of your system and its parts to focus ideation.

 

Heuristic redefinition is a visual approach for focusing and scoping an innovation project at the right level in a system. For example, if you're trying to make a more fuel-efficient vehicle, you would visually identify all the elements in the total vehicle system that affect fuel efficiency, not just the elements that impact a vehicle's engine.

Use heuristic redefinition when your innovation job to be done (JTBD) is not scoped well, or is broad rather than targeted in nature, and you need more specificity to take meaningful innovation action. This technique is very helpful to innovation leaders who are assembling their innovation project portfolios.

Steps

Scenario: Let's say a team called the Patient Crusaders is trying to make dental patients more at ease. The team's overall innovation job is to reduce fear and increase comfort for our patients.

1. Visualize the Overall System and Its Elements

The team should create an illustration of the system for meeting the JTBD, showing all of its major elements. Remember that any combination of functions can be considered a system or a subsystem, no matter how large or small. The waiting room at a dental office is a subsystem, and so is the dentist's tool tray.

Additional guidelines:

  • Prepare your illustration in any medium, but try to keep it simple (nonelectronic) and openly visual to the team. Thus, a flipchart or dry erase board is probably ...

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