SIT is an innovation method that harnesses five thinking patterns that mankind has used for thousands of years.
You can define Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) mainly as a bundle of Thinking tools, Principles and Facilitation Skills. which meant to be implemented as a bundle, to help you and your team produce much useful, valuable and implementable innovations concepts and ideas. Besides, Project Management and Organizational Innovation methods that could help organizations perform better as a whole.
Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) is a thinking method developed in Israel in the mid-1990s. Derived from Genrich Altshuller’s TRIZ engineering discipline, SIT is a practical approach to creativity, innovation, and problem-solving, which has become a well-known methodology for innovation. At the heart of SIT’s method is one core idea adopted from Genrich Altshuller’s TRIZ which is also known as Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TIPS): that inventive solutions share common patterns. Focusing not on what makes inventive solutions different – but on what they share in common – is core to SIT’s approach.
From TRIZ to SIT
The move from TRIZ to SIT was motivated by the desire to create a method that is easier to learn and retain (achieved through a smaller number of rules and tools), more universal in application (achieved through elimination of engineering specific tools) and tighter in keeping the problem solver within a real inventive framework (the Closed World principle). TRIZ also favours using existing resources for solving a problem. But in contrast to SIT, this principle is scattered around the method. It can be found in the principle of Ideal Final Result (“the best system is when there is no system” – Altshuller). The difference between TRIZ and SIT in this respect is that in SIT the Closed World condition is the most important principle. This is particularly applicable when the template approach is applied to problem-solving. The first step in using SIT for Problem Solving is to define the problem world. Once defined, the problem solver knows that all the building blocks for the solution are right there in front of him and that the solution simply requires the reorganization of the existing objects. This adds great focus and power to the method. It also turns every real problem into an amusing puzzle.
Closed World Principle (SIT’s most important principle)
The Closed World Principle was discovered by our colleague, Dr Roni Horowitz, and it is a key part of the SIT method. The principle states: “When solving a problem or creating a new solution, one should strive to use only those resources that exist in the product or system itself or in its immediate vicinity.”
Think of the Closed World as a boundary surrounding the product or service. When you recruit resources inside that boundary to generate an idea, the idea tends to be more creative.
For example, if you need to repair a flat tire and the lugnuts are rusted, the easy solution is to use your cell phone to call for help. However, using the Closed World Principle, you may realize that using the jack to provide added leverage to the tire wrench, you can remove the lugnuts using items that already exist in the car – the Closed World in this situation.
The beauty of the Closed World is that you can often time change the size of it by zooming in or zooming out. Doing so completely changes the types of innovations you will create using the SIT method.
This is counterintuitive because most people think that you need to get way outside the current domain to be innovative. Traditional creativity and innovation methods use random stimuli to push you outside the Closed World when they should be doing the opposite.
- Task Unification: Assign a new and additional task to an existing resource.
- Subtraction: Remove an essential component from a product and find usages for the newly created virtual product.
- Qualitative Change: When solving a problem, one should strive to transform elements that either create or aggravate the problem, neutralizing them or even converting them to become instrumental to the problem’s solution.
- Attribute Value Mapping: AVM is a tool for exploring the universe of potential values around a given product, service or innovation – based on its set of attributes.
- Attribute Dependency: Work with variables rather than components (as opposed to all other tools described earlier).
- Function Follows Form: First, create a Virtual Situation (form), and then to explore its potential benefits (function), It is a way to overcome some of the drawbacks of research-led or design-based innovation.
- Path of Most Resistance: PoMR, when we want to come up with really new and innovative ideas, it makes sense to take the counter-intuitive path – the path of most resistance. This is the path our minds are much less accustomed to using.
- Closed World: When solving a problem or creating a new solution, one should strive to use only those resources that exist in the product or system itself or in its immediate vicinity.
- Cognitive Fixedness: It is a state of mind in which an object or situation is perceived in one specific way, to the exclusion of any alternative. There are several types of Cognitive Fixedness, and the SIT Thinking Tools have been designed to assist in overcoming them.
- Virtual Product: The result of mentally manipulating the existing product is called a Virtual Product. Visualizing the virtual product is not a simple task since it is initially not at all clear what its possible uses could be. This can very often create a sense of discomfort due to the feeling of uncertainty generated.
- Existing Situation: The first stage of the FFF (Function Follows Form) process is precisely defining the existing situation. In order to best apply the SIT tools, one must define a clear existing situation, which includes all process stages, product components, and strategic resources. Only when you have your existing situation clearly defined can you move to the second stage of FFF, applying an SIT tool.
- Clocks & Gauges
- Dealing with Resistance
- Innovation Mapping
- Cross-Organizational Training
- Incentivizing Innovation
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