by Shlomo Maital

How to Change the World – In 4-5 Steps

By Shlomo Maital  

   In my previous blog entry, I argued that to be truly creative – to have ideas that are BOTH novel and useful,  meaning, ideas that you actually implement and get people to use – you need some structure or method.

   Here are a couple.  But each person really needs to design their own.

    A.  From a highly successful global innovation consultant:

     1.  Define the existing situation.

     2.  Define a ‘virtual’ situation (goal, ideal).

     3.  Define clearly WHY?   Why create the virtual ideal situation?  Why will it create value?    Cultivate wild ideas in this stage.    Use some basic arithmetic tools:  add, subtract, multiply, divide.  Especially subtract

     4.  Now,  State HOW!  How will you implement the virtual (ideal)?  State the practical steps for this to happen.

     E.g.  Take a bicycle.  Remove its wheels. (subtraction).  Now – what can you do with a wheel-less bicycle?  Answer:  Exercise bike.  A huge industry.


    B.  My own yin-yang method.  Which is  very similar to A. above.

    1.  Define the Yang (the ‘light’):  The IDEAL innovation that you seek to create.

      2.  Define the Yin (the ‘actual’, existing; the ‘dark’).  The product or process as it is now. 

      3.  State clearly what are all the constraints, or obstacles, that prevent attaining the Yang – ideal innovation.

      4.  Show how to use one or more of the basic creativity tools, to close the gap between the yang and the yin – between the actual, existing,   and the ideal, desired innovation.  (Look up TRIZ, a method devised by a Russian engineer named Genrich Altschuler, who built a taxonomy of all the ways people have come up with creative ideas).   

      5.  State clearly a feasible action plan to implement the innovation.

      Carpenters need tools.  Plumbers need tools.  So do creative people.  Build yourself a creativity toolbox, containing proven tools that you can apply to crack ‘what if’ challenges.  One common mistake:  Developers use ‘addition’ and keep adding new features on to existing products, often destroying them.  Go the other way.  Try subtraction. Take away things, especially ‘essential’ features, and see what you come up with to create new value.