Get Started

Innovation platform as a productivity tool for a business

June 28, 2021

Have you ever tried to understand what an Innovation Platform is? Do we really need an Innovation Platform in the business? What is its position and function in the business system? In this post, we’ll try to answer these questions.

As we have already proved in our previous blog (You can’t buy yourself an innovation), the innovation level of a company is not correlating with the R&D expenses. Here, we want to use the same data and look at this from a bit different angle.

The top 40 innovative companies

We picked 40 of some of the best and well-known companies, the companies that claim to be innovative. Aggregating their data on a single chart of Innovation Rank against R&D expenses we’ve got the following.

We grouped all 40 companies into 4 groups based on their Innovation Rank and R&D expenses. Where:

  • We consider below 10 as High Innovation Rank (above is low rank)
  • Low R&D expenses in below 10% of the company revenue.
  • > 55% of the companies – “Low Innovation Rank for Low R&D Cost” – They don’t spend much on R&D and don’t have high innovation performance. We cannot say these companies are not innovative because they are at the top of the list, but it seems like innovation is not a high priority for them.
  • > 21% of the companies – “Low Innovation Rank for High R&D Cost” – They spend a lot on R&D but cannot achieve good innovation performance. These companies are trying to be innovative, but their R&D is not effective enough.
  • > 15% of the companies – “High Innovation Rank for High R&D Cost” – These companies achieve high innovation performance but at a high R&D cost. These companies have an opportunity to improve their R&D and reduce its cost.
  • only < 8% of the companies form the smallest group – “High Innovation Rank for Low R&D Cost” – These organizations are in an excellent position. They achieve high innovation performance with low R&D costs. In other words, they have very effective R&D.   

High innovation level ensures constantly increasing of competitive advantage of a company. Therefore, any company that is willing to be successful should find a way to move into the fourth group to innovate effectively at a low cost.

The Law of System Completeness is a creative thinking tool

Before we move any further, we want to mention the Law of System Completeness formulated by Genrich Altshuller. You can read more about this in the book “TRIZ Technology for Innovation” by Isak Bukhman.

The essence of the Law of System Completeness is pretty simple. Any system converts energy to a product and consists of four parts (as shown below). It is important to mention that both energy and product are not part of the system.

Law of System Completeness

This structure can describe any system, from semiconductors manufacturing to a pizzeria. It’s important to remember that when analyzing a system with this approach EVERY component on the chart must be filled.

Case study

The company consists of the manufacturing and R&D departments. Let’s perform the analysis of both departments using the System Completeness tool.

The components of the Manufacturing Department are assigned to four groups according to their functions. The Manufacturing department completeness diagram is shown below:

The analysis shows that all four parts contain components of the Manufacturing department. There are no empty parts that mean the completeness is right. The completeness law is also working the other way around. If any component of a system does not fit into at least one of the completeness model parts, this component is subject to termination.

There is one more important result: Parts 1, 2, and 3 are purely mechanical, while Part 4 is pure human. This is a trivial and typical situation where “mechanical work” is “people controlled”.   

Now the R&D Department.

The system completeness diagram is shown below:

Energy: Managers generate requirements to improve yield, reduce cost, and so on

Engine: Engineers collect and analyze data, state the problems to solve

Transmission: Engineers search for root causes, create models and setup innovation projects

Working Unit: Engineers develop and validate solutions and create a product – INNOVATION

What is a Control Unit? In many cases, this unit remains empty. It is often supposed to be managers that fill this position. And this is wrong.

The main function of managers is not to manage engineering thinking but to ensure effective work of engineers.

For R&D department the situation is opposite to the Manufacturing department: Parts 1, 2, and 3 are performed by people, while Part 4 is a system of an innovative thinking. The “control” is done by a system that operates based on engineering evolution laws.   

In the case of R&D or any problem solving / innovation activity, and INNOVATION PLATFORM can provide relevant guidance and control of the innovation process.

PRIZ Innovation Platform is created to enhance the ability to solve problems and innovate, to make R&D more effective, to solve problems faster.

Learn our site and use the Innovation Platforms, innovate, and speed up creative thinking.

Leave A Comment

Read also