2009年8月22日星期六

Innovation – From Art to Science

I would like to share the seminar entitled “Innovation – From Art to Science” which was organized by HKSTP on 22nd August 2009. The speaker was Mr. Darrell Mann (Director, Systematic Innovation Ltd (UK)). He had serviced at Rolls-Royce in R&D for 15 years as the chief engineer responsible for the company’s long term future military engine strategy. Before attended the seminar, I expected it would introduce the traditional TRIZ principles. However, Darrell gave us an overall of systematic innovation philosophies with some practical examples.

In the beginning, Mr. Allen Yeung (VP – BDTS in HKSTP) gave opening speech and introduced the speaker – Mr. Darrell Mann.



Firstly, Darrell presented the overall business model in his company. Systematic Innovation Ltd is not a big company. It has only 40 full time staff and 150 networking partners. Yet, it is valuable to learn how the company runs a business as creative solution provider. There are four elements: “Problem Solving Consulting”, “Research”, “Systematic Innovation Method” and “IP Generation / Licensing”. The most important role of the company is “Coordination”.


Then he showed their services track record. Their services were provided to many famous companies and he quoted some examples to illustrate solutions implemented in cross-industries such as “PILKINGTON and ILFORD”.


Darrell said the company extracted most of best practices from all fields of human endeavour, including Business, Science, Patents and Creative Minds, to create its own Breakthrough database.
He showed an accelerating world moving from limited competition to global competition. In my quality point of view, “Stability” is QC and Six Sigma, “Continuous improvement” is QA/QM and TQM. And, TRIZ (The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) could be the quality aspect for “Continuous Innovation”.


Darrell continued that 97% of patents would never pay back the filing cost of the patents! It indicated that invention is not necessary to be a good return innovation. Then, he asked what “WOW” solution is. Some participants said good return innovative idea would be iPod, iPhone, etc. He added innovative idea is non-obvious at first and it does not fit the current ‘common sense’ but it becomes the new common sense.

Another example was self-timing egg. The idea is only to print a temperature indicator on the egg shell to show the degree of cooked so it can be marked up 40%.

Then he introduced the “Ideal Final Result” deployment philosophy. The ideal final result is a theoretical solution in most senses; however, it could be a system to get closer and closer to the destination.


“Evolution is a Convergent Process.”


Darrell emphasized the contradiction would be found from customer’s expectation. But it can be innovation opportunities to solve these contradiction cases.

The photo showed a perfect solution which the speaker likes to use the most.


During the Q&A section, some questions are summarized as follows:
i) When we use other industries’ solution, do we need to pay for their patient?
ii) If you sign the NDA with one company, how do you use that company’s idea to help other industries?
The speaker shared that they use the fundamental knowledge or published knowledge which is not protected by the patent and to further develop a new solution or new patent.

For more information, please refer to Darrell’s best-selling book entitled “Hands-On Systematic Innovation for Business & Management” published by IFR Press, Malaysia in 2004.


In this book, it introduces seven pillars in systematic innovation:
i) Ideality (Ideal Final Result and S-curve)
ii) Contradictions (business conflict/trade-off elimination Matrix)
iii) Functionality (Main Useful Function)
iv) Resource (Maximization of use of everything)
v) Space, Time and Interface (Jump out of patterns / thinking out of the box, psychological inertia)
vi) Recursion
vii) Emergence

My another related article: Innovation/Creativity Management

3 則留言:

鹿米館 說...

這類型的研討會,其實要多辦,而且還是定期化,當中本港相關官員更要深入參與其中而非收集意見,這才可以有機會批香港專業技術提升和商品化。

支持品質兄多搞這些活動,仲要多出幾張paper。

Quality Alchemist 說...

鹿米館主, 多謝你的寶貴意見.
我們會多努力, 多辦這類型的研討會.
已和一些教授合力作研究.
但這些小的研討會,不會有本港相關官員參與的.

Berry Yeung 說...

Thank you very much for your sharing !

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