Uploaded by Jonel Ebron

BES 6- Product Dev Brainstorm

Creativity and Product Development
Knowledge and human power are synonymous, since the ignorance of the
cause frustrates the effect.
Francis Bacon
Creativity and Invention
Product Design and Development
Spotlight on Teva Pharmaceuticals
How can an organization establish an environment that fosters bringing new products and
services to market on a consistent and timely
ver the past 20 years, product life cycles
have gotten shorter and shorter—in large
part due to faster technological breakthroughs. To keep pace with this environment of
rapid change, companies must establish a creative
environment that strongly encourages spending time on new ideas, concepts, and solutions.
The creative enterprise is based on six resources,
which are outlined in Table 8.1. Creative ideas,
concepts, and solutions are turned into products and services through the product design and
development process. This process is concerned
with the concrete details that embody a new product or service. Prototypes are models of a product
or service and can help a new technology venture
to learn about the right form of the product for the
customer. Scenarios are used to create a mental
model of a possible sequence of future events or
outcomes. Good product development relies on
the five practices listed in Table 8.5. ■
Creativity and Product Development
8.1 Creativity and Invention
Creativity is the ability to use the imagination to develop new ideas, new
things, or new solutions. Creative thinking is a core competency of most new
ventures, and entrepreneurs strive to have creative people on their team. Creative
ideas often arise when creative people look at established solutions, practices,
or products and think of something new or different. These creative ideas can
underlie invention, and invention can flow to innovation. Thus, firms committed
to innovation must fundamentally strive to encourage and support creativity.
The creative enterprise is based on six resources as shown in Table 8.1
[Sternberg et al., 1997]. To create something new, one needs knowledge of
the field and of the domain of knowledge required. Domains are areas such
as science, engineering, or marketing. Fields within a domain might be circuit
design or market research.
The intellectual ability required is the ability to see linkages between things,
redefine problems, and envision and analyze possible practical solutions. Creative
people use inventive thinking that reflects in novel ways on a problem. A creative
thinker is motivated to make something happen and is open to change. Finally,
the creative person understands the context of the problem and is willing to take a
reasonable risk. The person who has most of these skills is often called intuitive;
that is, he or she has an instinctive ability to perceive or learn relationships, ideas,
and solutions.
One process of creative thinking is shown in Figure 8.1. It starts with a
description of a problem and rests for a period of incubation. Then, intuitive
brainstorming leads to good insights and ideas that can be evaluated and tested.
Finally, a prototype is built and shown to the potential customer. This process
may lead the entrepreneur to revise the question or problem and to begin a second
cycle through the process. The entrepreneur continues around the loop until the
prototype product solves the problem.
It is also useful to think of the innovation process as involving multiple
personas, each with their own skills and points of view. The first three personas
occupy learning roles: the anthropologist observes behaviors and develops a deep
understanding of how people interact with products, services, and each other;
the experimenter prototypes new ideas continuously; and the cross-pollinator
TABLE 8.1 Six resources for a creative enterprise.
Knowledge in the required domain and
fields: and knowing what is new.
Intellectual abilities to recognize
connections, redefine problems, and
envision and analyze possible practical
ideas and solutions.
Inventive thinking about the problem in
novel ways.
Motivation toward action.
Opportunity-oriented personality and
openness to change.
Contextual understanding that supports
creativity and mitigates risks.
and start
Creativity and Invention
the problem
Build a prototype
and show it
to the customer
Incubation period:
Observe and
study the problem
Evaluate and
test the ideas
Intuitive thinking and
ideas, and
inventive thinking
FIGURE 8.1 Creativity process.
explores other industries and settings and borrows relevant ideas from them.
The next three personas occupy organizing roles: the hurdler develops a knack
for overcoming and outsmarting potential obstacles; the collaborator helps
to bring diverse groups together; and the director gathers and inspires the
team. The last four personas occupy building roles: the experience architect
designs compelling experiences that go beyond mere functionality; the set
designer transforms physical environments to facilitate the work of innovative
team members; the caregiver anticipates and attends to customer needs; and
the storyteller conveys a compelling narrative about the project [Kelley and
Littman, 2005].
Figure 8.2 illustrates the “Innovation Engine,” which shows how different
internal and external factors can work together to enhance creativity. The three
factors on the inside of the Innovation Engine are knowledge, imagination and
attitude. Knowledge provides the fuel for one’s imagination. Imagination, in
turn, is the catalyst for transforming knowledge into new ideas. Finally, attitude
sets the Innovation Engine in motion. The three factors on the outside of the
Innovation Engine are resources, habitats, and culture. Resources include the
assets in an entrepreneur’s community. Habitat is the physical space, constraints,
incentives and team dynamics that surround the entrepreneur. Finally, culture
refers to collective beliefs, values and behaviors in the entrepreneur’s community
[Seelig, 2012].
Creativity and Product Development
FIGURE 8.2 Innovation Engine.
An entrepreneur can improve all six factors to increase innovation.
Imagination can be enhanced by reframing problems, connecting ideas, and
challenging assumptions [Seelig, 2012]. For example, in 1954, Kay Zufall was
looking for new things for children to do. She did not like the modeling clay
sold for children because it was too stiff. However, her brother-in-law made a
doughy mixture for cleaning wallpaper. Zufall tried it as a modeling medium and
discovered it was soft and easy to mold and cut up. She and her brother-in-law
reformulated it as a safe and colorful product for children, and they came up with
the name: PlayDoh [Sutton, 2002].
A powerful method for enhancing the imagination is brainstorming. In
a brainstorming session, diverse people come together to generate new ideas
through conversation and interaction. Brainstorming sessions typically require
significant planning, setup and follow-through. Table 8.2 lists eight guidelines for
effective brainstorming sessions.
The mindset of the brainstorming group is particularly important. To
be effective, teams should follow certain brainstorming “rules,” as listed in
Table 8.3. Entrepreneurs can be naturally inclined to judge ideas immediately,
leading them to filter the ideas that they discuss and record in a brainstorming
session. The point of a brainstorming session, however, is to stir the imagination
in order to generate new ideas. Some firms, like the product-design firm IDEO,
post printouts of the brainstorming rules in Table 8.3 in their work environments
to remind team members of this goal.
Entrepreneurs also can act to enhance parts of the Innovation Engine
beyond imagination. For example, an entrepreneur can enhance her knowledge
of a market by engaging deeply with potential customers through conversations
and observations. Entrepreneurs also can work to apply their knowledge across
different domains. For example, Tina Seelig completed her PhD in neuroscience
at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Soon after she completed her
degree, she decided that she wanted to enter the world of business. She realized
that her ability to do scientific research was directly applicable to the kinds of
problems that she would face in the business world. Even though Seelig did not
Creativity and Invention
have a degree in business, she did have highly relevant knowledge. Being able to
tap into your knowledge and apply it in different settings is a powerful tool for
creative problem solving.
An important part of attitude lies in maintaining a willingness to
experiment and the drive to push through challenges to solve problems.
Research shows that the human mind is malleable and that people who
maintain a positive and learning-oriented attitude have different brain activity
than people who do not.
TABLE 8.2 Guidelines for effective brainstorming sessions.
Right people
A brainstorming group should be diverse, relatively small, and
free of internal politics
Right challenge
A brainstorming group should focus on a clearly-stated
Right mindset
A brainstorming group should adopt a creative and generative
mindset, not a critical and evaluative one
Right empathy
A brainstorming group should focus on understanding the
people who are affected by the challenge
Right stimulus
A brainstorming group should use questions that question
assumptions, consider extreme cases, employ analogies, and
explore technology scenarios and trends
Right facilitation
A brainstorming group should ensure that everyone participates,
while keeping the conversation fresh and energetic
Right follow-up
A brainstorming group should have some way to ensure
that ideas can later be considered and, where appropriate,
Source: Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011.
TABLE 8.3 Brainstorming “rules”.
Defer judgment
Don’t confuse idea generation, where brainstorming
excels, with idea evaluation
Capture all ideas
Even ideas that seem irrelevant or “bad” can be the basis
of other ideas
Encourage wild ideas
Wild ideas can lead to insights
Hold one conversation at a time
Listen to other people in the group
Build on other people’s ideas
Consider how you might modify or extend an idea into a
new idea
Be visual
Use pictures and diagrams, not just words, to capture
Go for volume
Emphasize quantity over quality
Source: Seelig, 2009.
Creativity and Product Development
Finally, habitat plays an important role in facilitating creativity. Part of habitat
is the physical environment itself. Many startups feature brightly-colored and
open spaces with easily-movable furniture, whiteboards, and even games. These
physical environments support creativity by encouraging informal interactions
and by providing an easy way to capture insights.
Habitat also includes incentives and team dynamics. All firms need a culture
that sustains a creative process that enables team members to engage and interact
with new solutions. The leaders of a new venture can play a particularly important
role in establishing this culture; firms with leaders who empower employees
experience greater creativity [Zhang and Bartol, 2010]. Leaders also should work
to establish a collaborative culture around creativity. Collaborative teams are
more likely to achieve creative breakthroughs, since they can draw upon multiple
perspectives, and are less likely to have very poor outcomes, since groups
typically have a more rigorous selection process [Singh and Fleming, 2010].
Entrepreneurial leaders influence the culture by putting in place rules,
rewards, and incentives that can foster innovation. Even those employees not
in a leadership role with direct control over the corporate culture can indirectly
influence the culture by reinforcing other parts of the Innovation Engine. For
example, by increasing their imagination, they create opportunities for the
organization that can ultimately impact that entire organizational culture.
Table 8.4 conveys several ideas for managing a creative work environment.
These ideas can clash, however, with conventional management practices
[Sutton, 2002]. A natural conflict exists between managing for creativity or
exploration on one hand and implementation or exploitation on the other hand:
new ideas and inventions depend upon creativity; bringing these inventions to
market, however, may require routine processes [Freeman and Engel, 2007].
A small, emerging firm can accommodate both tendencies within it. As a firm
grows, it needs to build a culture that reinforces the best qualities of creativity as
well as efficient execution of its business processes [Brown, 2001].
TABLE 8.4 Conventional versus creative management practices.
Conventional practice
Creative practice
Hire “fast learners” (of the organizational
Hire “slow learners” (of the organizational
Hire people who make you comfortable,
whom you like
Hire people who make you uncomfortable,
even those you dislike
Hire people you (probably) do need
Hire people you (probably) don’t need
Use job interviews to screen and, especially, to recruit new employees
Use job interviews to get new ideas, not to
screen candidates
Encourage people to pay attention to and
obey their bosses and peers
Encourage people to ignore and defy their
superiors and peers
Find some happy people, and make sure
they don’t fight
Find some happy people, and get them
to fight
Reward success, punish failure
and inaction
Reward success and failure, punish
Product Design and Development
TABLE 8.4 Continued
Conventional practice
Creative practice
Decide to do something that will probably Decide to do something that will probably fail,
succeed, then convince yourself and
then convince yourself and everyone else that
everyone else that success is certain
success is certain
Think of some sound or practical things to Think of some ridiculous or impractical things
do, and plan to do them
to do, and plan to do them
Seek out and be attentive to people who
will evaluate and endorse the work
Avoid, distract, and bore customers, critics, and
anyone who just wants to talk about money
Learn everything you can from people who Don’t try to learn anything from people who
seem to have solved the problems you face say they have solved the problems you face
Remember and replicate your company’s
past successes
Forget the past, especially your company’s
Source: Sutton, 2002.
8.2 Product Design and Development
One of the early tasks of a new venture is the design and development of the new
product. The entrepreneurial team wants to develop a new product or service that
can establish a leadership position. One of the strengths of a new venture is that the
leadership of the venture plays a central role in all stages of the development effort.
Furthermore, the small new firm is able to integrate the specialized capabilities
necessary for the development of a successful product [Burgelman, 2002].
In recent years, product complexity has dramatically increased. As products
acquire more functions, the difficulty of forecasting product requirements rises
exponentially. Furthermore, the rate of change in most markets is also increasing,
thereby reducing the effectiveness of traditional approaches to forecasting future
product requirements. As a result, entrepreneurs need to redefine the problem from
one of improving forecasting to one of eliminating the need for accurate longterm forecasts. Thus, many product designers attempt to retain flexibility of the
product characteristics as the development proceeds. A design and development
project can be said to be flexible to the extent that the cost of any change is low.
Then, project leaders can make product design choices that allow the product to
easily accommodate change [Thompke and Reinertsen, 1998]. Uncertainty is an
inevitable aspect of all design and development projects, and most entrepreneurs
have difficulty controlling it. The challenge is to find the right balance between
planning and learning. Planning provides discipline, and learning provides
flexibility and adaptation. Openness to learning is necessary for most new ventures
that are finding their way into the market [DeMeyer et al., 2002].
Design of a product leads to the arrangement of concrete details that
embodies a new product idea or concept. The design process is the organization
and management of people, concepts, and information utilized in the development
of the form and function of a product. The role of design is, in part, to mediate
between the novel concept and the established institutional needs. For example,
Thomas Edison designed and described the electric light in terms of the