Solutions and improvements often come in incremental steps. People have a tendency to think of how to make something a little bit faster, a little bit easier, a little bit cheaper, etc. This drives the innovation process at most organizations. One of the things that I was taught by my first employer was a slogan that went along the lines of 5% impossible, 30% possible. What this was supposed to convey was the desire to find new solutions that improved upon the existing solution by at least 30%. Don’t bother with 5% improvements. With this template I wanted to provide a way to think about bigger solutions. By segmenting the size of the improvement desired, we can start to think about what solutions can get us there.
Below we have a blank 10x solutions template which can be found at https://www.solveboard.com/solveboard/view/model/979
How to Use:
- With this template you first start by laying out the current solution and those metrics you are looking to improve. For the purposes of this tutorial we are going to use a company that manufactures widgets. The current solution employed by the company allows for production of 25 widgets a week, sales of $100,000 per week, productivity of 1 widget per week per worker, and a total cost of $3,000 per widget manufactured. From these metrics we are going to lay out performance that beats the current solution by 2x, 5x, and 10x solutions. As you can see below if we look at the 5x solution we can see performance of 125 widgets per week and sales of $500,000 per week. These are 5 times the current solution.
- Now we can start to figure out what would be required to reach those solutions above. How can we hit a 2x solution for example? We can add overtime for our production workers, we can add a new manufacturing machines, and we can upgrade the quality control system to reduce wastage. Now how about what might be required for a 5x solution. These drastic improvements in performance often call for equally drastic changes in our requirements. These might not all be realistic, but it is useful to know what they are. For example in our 5x solution we can see that redesigning the widget to use alternative materials might help us reach the 5x solution. However this might not be an option that management is willing to consider.
- Expand upon the metrics or new solutions you have listed using the information panel attached to each element. These will allow you to provide a great deal of additional information to anybody that would view the model. As you can see below, additional information was provided about the quality control system and why an upgrade may help reach the 2x solution. In addition to text, you can also link external websites to the element, upload files, etc.
- Use color coding to classify items on the model as needed. For our example orange was used to target the new metrics trying to be achieved. As we can see the company wishes to improve productivity to 2 widgets per week per worker. In addition it wants to halve the cost of a widget. The color green was then used to denote those items which were approved. Overtime for production workers is being introduced and the quality control system is being upgraded. Yellow was used to classify items that would be studied further.
You can find this finished 10x solutions template at https://www.solveboard.com/solveboard/view/model/981
Big aspirations often lead to breakthrough ideas. Doubling your current solution will no doubt raise some ideas in a group setting. Asking group participants to multiply the current solution by five times will bring forth crazy ideas. Asking them to multiply by 10 times will bring even crazier ideas to the discussion. That is how breakthroughs happen. Competitive innovation is not about incremental improvements. It is about dramatic improvements to an existing process, product, or service. This template is a great way to organize your thoughts and manage this process.