Training and Coaching
> Targeted Creativity


We believe that people are creative by nature, but are rarely taught effective and broadly applicable strategies for targeted innovation. We therefore offer short workshops in general creativity, as well as providing creative input and/or facilitation for special sessions and ongoing programs.

Our preferred approach is to use existing client issues as a venue for developing enhanced innovation skills useful far into the future. Innovation is used here to mean practical embodiment of ideas that can and will be translated into valuable new products, services or business methods. Issues map onto opportunities through diverse processes and functions, from research and engineering through manufacturing, finance and supply-chain management to sales and marketing. Each position and stake-holder can offer a different and valuable understanding of products and services, behaviors and benefits. 

Most of us are familiar with under-facilitated brainstorming—and with the challenge of filtering out useful signal from the considerable noise often generated with it. We offer a more comprehensive and structured approach that begins with a rigorous elicitation of criteria that both guide efficient concept generation and ensure that resulting ideas will be able to pass smoothly along the development pipeline. This task is not always easy or comfortable, but has consistently been assessed by client groups as one of the most valuable business activities they have encountered.

Having established these boundary conditions, we employ several concept-generation methods—as well as drawing on the client's historical knowledge—to produce a set of candidate solutions. This diagram illustrates part of the process called morphological analysis—a formal and generative way to use "the box."

Out of

There is always some kind of a box; there are always constraints. Our task is to make the box fit us, instead of the reverse. This can mean making the box larger, filling it differently, changing its shape, or adding more boxes. This language is only metaphor; in workshops, we explore practical ways to understand and implement these approaches.

The next step goes well beyond simplistic accept/reject filters. That approach can be wasteful: of almost-good-enough ideas, of participants' time and energy, and of available historical knowledge. Instead, we use simple methods of logical typing to extract the best features of each "almost" idea, in ways that permit them to be recombined for optimal global solutions that satisfy many parties and may lead to valuable intellectual property and extensible product or brand platforms.

Logical typing and benefit mapping

What is the inventive step? (This might become Claim 1 in your patent.) Is this idea an

  • Element – enabling/unique part of a system?
  • System – complete functional product?
  • Principle – a special approach to an element or system?

What is the essence? What is distinctive? Why should others be interested? How can they confirm promised value before acquiring or manufacturing, while using, afterward?

Exploring, documenting and integrating such a broad range of attributes, needs, criteria and other aspects optimizes value of investments while minimizing risk at every stage.

This process can be efficient, engaging and motivating. Further, it almost always leads to solutions of real value that draw on the best of both prior knowledge and genuinely new creative thinking.