Problem Solving Basic Toolset from Operational Excellence Consulting

Sharing with you a very effective toolset for problem solving


37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 12: Make it Multifunctional or All-in-One (AIO)



This idea suggests increasing the value of the product by making it useful for other things while selling the product at the same price.  Customer saves money in the long run instead of buying the tools or parts separately which sums up to a higher price.
One popular example is the swiss knife. It may be sold at a premium price but if you would think about the cost of buying the tools separately, it actually costs more having individual tools.
In the office, you may also see another multi-functional device, that is the multi-purpose printer / fax / scanner.  In the earlier times, we had to spend a significant amount to buy each unit separately but now we can save more by having a multi-purpose unit or what we call now as a All-in-One (AIO) Printer.
Another example is the photocopy machine which use to have a sole functionality of photocopying but as time passed it evolved into a multi-functional office equipment.  Some photocopiers would now even have functionality of a fax machine, document storage, saving of image into electronic files (pdf or jpeg).

37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 11: Tell The Story of Your Product



This idea suggests we highlight the product’s authenticity and value by sharing how it came to be or by sharing it all started.  Examples are KFC, Facebook and Starbucks.  KFC proudly shares that the original chicken was introduced by Colonel Harland Sanders during the Great Depression Period in America around 1930s in North Corbin, Kentucky USA .   Facebook started as a social media site in a college dorm room.  Starbucks started as seller of coffee and evolved into a coffee shop.
Why do people love to know the story of the product’s origin?
With a historical background that can enrich the customer’s experience by putting a story behind how the product was made, how it came to be or how it evolved through the years from its conception to creation.  Some customers find comfort knowing what goes into the product.

Some customers also put value to a product which has been existing and being patronized for some time even across generations. Such that the historical background of the product reminds of their parents buying the product when they were kids. It may even remind them of their childhood when they use to buy the said product and was able to have an enjoyable experience that time. That historical knowledge gives comfort to the customers that the product is proven reliable and has been patronized over ages.

37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 9: Associate historical settings to your product


This idea suggests we try associating our product with certain historical events.  This creates a wonderful customer feeling of being part of that memorable history despite of not really being there.  Example, one customer born in the late 80’s or 90’s would enjoy knowing that the hamburger was a popular meal even during the fifties.  If that customer wanted to feel what it is like in the fifties, that burger-loving customer would perhaps buy and eat that burger to remember that feeling of being in the fifties.  This works much more effective if the hamburger dining place has a 50’s motiff.

37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 8: Build a Community Around Your Product

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This idea suggests building a support group or a community of patronizers around your product to create that feeling of “Being One” or “Belongingness” with the product.  This comes from our need of belonging-ness to a community in order to feel satisfied and fulfilled.  This works specially for newbies of the product who needed some kind of peer support when they need to understand some features or functions of the product.  This also works for prospective customers who want to be connected, identified or to be “IN”  a group related to the product he/she is interested in.

Example is the Apple cult where the customers patiently line up just to get the early releases of each new model.  Each customer is also made to feel like part of the family of Apple product users.

37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 7: Mass Customization


Innovation Tip of the Day: Mass Customization

this idea suggests enabling your product to serve more types of customer needs with the cost-efficient level of customization. This may lead to product extensions or small tweaks. This can be achieved by setting a core product component from which modular tweaks can be added or applied.

But do consider the operational demands it will cause. Is your company capable of delivering or producing the tweaks for the customers? What if these customizations became to voluminous and became too confusing or counter-productive for your production operations? This is when there has to be that conscious effort on designing your product carefully and having the right components ready when certain “modular” customizations have to be made for the customers.

What are the kinds of Innovation techniques?

Types of Innovation

An innovation that does not affect existing markets.

An innovation that improves a product in an existing market in ways that customers are expecting. (E.g., fuel injection)

Revolutionary (discontinuous, radical)
An innovation that is unexpected, but nevertheless does not affect existing markets. (E.g., the automobile)

An innovation that creates a new market by applying a different set of values, which ultimately (and unexpectedly) overtakes an existing market. (E.g., the lower priced Ford Model T)

from wikipedia “Disruptive Innovation”


37 Ways to Innovate – Idea 2 : Add a new experience


37 Ways to Innovate - Idea 2 :  Add a new experience

Your product or your service is just as good as any other product or service from a competitor.
But question is – how can you entice customers, old and new, to buy or do business with you?
Answer is to add a new experience dimension to the product or service so that customers can stop and enjoy it better.
In this kind of innovation, what we want to impart to the customers is the enjoyable memory when they used our products or when they availed our services.