I’ve mentioned previously that a Decision Breakdown Structure (DBS) provides a very powerful innovation framework for creating breakthrough products and services. Although every decision within a Decision Breakdown Structure can be an innovation “node”, some decisions are more innovation-rich than others.
Within the product design decision pattern, I have a Behaviors to Exploit decision that can be a launching pad for many new product innovations.
Before you make this decision, you may first decide on your product’s Operating Regime(s); this defines its ambient environment, performance levels, frequency range, etc. The Behaviors to Exploit decision then considers what material properties or scientific behaviors (aka phenomenology) within the operating regime should be leveraged to create unique value for the user. In essence, this is choosing what science will form the “heart and soul” of your product. Its child decision, Exploitation Method, then chooses the technology that you will create or use to take advantage of a promising property or behavior.
These decisions are not always done in a top-down flow; more often a scientific discovery uncovers a surprising property or behavior; researchers then start to dream up ways that they could exploit this behavior as a technology building-block for a new or improved product. They may then experiment with some prototypes or models and try shifting the operating regime around to find some optimum range on a performance (stimulus-response) curve.
If you have a mission in mind, not all science is equally valuable. I recommend the following criteria when you are evaluating which material properties or scientific behaviors to select as the engine for your product:
For every promising property or behavior, there may be negative side effects or other parasitic properties that will interfere with your ability to extract value from the science. The decision pattern includes a Behaviors to Control decision to identify which negative properties to attack/control and a Control Method to define the technology or method that you will use to avoid, suppress or regulate these nuisances. Some product innovations may be no more than a new way to control one of these parasites.
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