Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Replay Those Pesky Computer Crashes


Wouldn’t it be great if we could just avoid computer crashes altogether? Just last week, my computer crashed three times! Let’s think realistically here, computer crashes are not going away, but at least now we can replay it and see what caused the crash.

According to this latest NY Times article, software engineers Jonathan Lindo and Jeffrey Daudel have figured out a product Replay Solutions that have those exact capabilities. How does one come up with such an idea? Jonathan Lindo remembers:

“We were spending almost all of our time not fixing the issues, but trying to get to the point where we could just see the issue, and we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could just TiVo this and replay it?”

Innovation by analogy, what the NY Times defines this concept as, is a very powerful strategic tool. A quick comparison to a completely unrelated aspect created this breakthrough in technological advancement in software applications. Just think of other ways in which innovation by analogy has fostered new product development. This white paper written by Dipl. Wi.-Ing Katharina Schild, Prof. Dr. Cornelius Herstatt, and Dr. Christian Lüthje gives us an example of how this strategy can improve systematic inventing:

“Analogies can trigger breakthrough ideas in new product development. Numerous examples demonstrate that substantial innovations often result from transferring problem solutions from one industry or domain to another. For instance, the designers of the new running shoe generation of Nike, “Nike SHOX”, use the same suspension concept like the technologies applied for Formula 1 racing cars, or the biological Lotus-effect led to the development of various self-cleaning surfaces.”

So whether it comes to computer crashes or new ideas for running shoes, innovation by analogy is a compelling strategy which should be adopted by your new product development teams. What are other examples that your organization have used to spark those creative juices?

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