Structured Idea Generation
First, I used the scamper methods to generate new concepts based on the "product" of store employees.
TRIZ is a method to find ways of dealing with common problems using categories and a large table.
I chose "Loss of Information" and "Loss of Time" as my two problem areas. Looking these up on the chart, I found that my problems may be solved using four types of solution:
- 24. 'Intermediary'
Use an intermediary carrier article or intermediary process.
- Carpenter s nailset, used between the hammer and the nail
Merge one object temporarily with another (which can be easily removed).
- Pot holder to carry hot dishes to the table
- 26. Copying
Instead of an unavailable, expensive, fragile object, use simpler and inexpensive copies.
- Virtual reality via computer instead of an expensive vacation
- Listen to an audio tape instead of attending a seminar.
Replace an object, or process with optical copies.
- Do surveying from space photographs instead of on the ground.
- Measure an object by measuring the photograph.
- Make sonograms to evaluate the health of a fetus, instead of risking damage by direct testing.
If visible optical copies are already used, move to infrared or ultraviolet copies.
- Make images in infrared to detect heat sources, such as diseases in crops, or intruders in a security system.
- 28. Mechanics substitution
Replace a mechanical means with a sensory (optical, acoustic, taste or smell) means.
- Replace a physical fence to confine a dog or cat with an acoustic *fence* (signal audible to the animal).
- Use a bad smelling compound in natural gas to alert users to leakage, instead of a mechanical or electrical sensor.
Use electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields to interact with the object.
- To mix 2 powders, electrostatically charge one positive and the other negative. Either use fields to direct them, or mix them mechanically and let their acquired fields cause the grains of powder to pair up.
Change from static to movable fields, from unstructured fields to those having structure.
- Early communications used omnidirectional broadcasting. We now use antennas with very detailed structure of the pattern of radiation.
Use fields in conjunction with field-activated (e.g. ferromagnetic) particles.
- Heat a substance containing ferromagnetic material by using varying magnetic field. When the temperature exceeds the Curie point, the material becomes paramagnetic, and no longer absorbs heat.
- 32. Color changes
Change the color of an object or its external environment.
- Use safe lights in a photographic darkroom.
Change the transparency of an object or its external environment.
- Use photolithography to change transparent material to a solid mask for semiconductor processing. Similarly, change mask material from transparent to opaque for silk screen processing.
Using these categories, I made a list of new ideas, a few of which are sketched below.
Improving Ideas from Brainstorming