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Successful companies, such as Kraft, Shell, BASF, Nestle, Amdocs, Johnson & Johnson and many others employ the Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) methodology to solve key business challenges, achieve extraordinary results in product development, and rapidly innovate.

In this course, you will explore the SIT methodology, one of the most popular and well-known methodologies for innovation whose foundation evolves from a key principle that inventive solutions share common patterns. Further, you will learn how to extract these patterns using the five thinking tools: Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Task Unification and Attribute Dependency. Applying these five systematic thinking tools during the process of product development will help you identify new ideas, solutions, and products or define new needs for a particular product.

Systematic Inventive Thinking approach begins by studying an existing product and its features. The approach focuses on the notion that function follows form, where the likely success and production viability is evaluated after visualizing the improved product. By focusing on the core principles of SIT, you can significantly improve your product development pipeline and create a culture of innovation within your teams and organization.

Practitioner’s Corner

A unique facet of this program is the Practitioner’s Corner. Participants will have access to exclusive video interviews with Drew Boyd where he shares his experiences in managing innovation in organizations and implementing the SIT techniques in the workplace, from a practitioner’s perspective.

Course Highlights


Interactive Lectures






Practitioner’s Corner Videos


Industry Examples

Examples used in the course



Being creative in product development means to go deep inside the environment of the product. Rather than think “outside of the box”, learn the highly efficient “inside the box” approach to creativity.

  • a) Creative Forum Videos
  • b) What is Creativity?
  • c) Where Do Ideas Come From?


Understand the different types of fixedness’ encountered when developing a product and how to overcome these biases. Learn about the cognitive bias that limits a person from considering other structures or forms than what they are used to. Explore how our minds block out new configurations of components or elements of our products. Learn about the cognitive bias which restricts a person to using a product only in the way it has been utilized traditionally. Understand the way our minds often keep us from seeing new uses for the components in our products.

a) Introduction to Fixedness

b) What is Structural Fixedness?

c) What is Functional Fixedness?

  • Examples discussed:
  • NFL Vase Kicking
  • Functional Fixedness

c) Resistance

  • Resistance Examples


Learn new ways to transform the way your team conducts brainstorming sessions for product development. Learn to spur creative thinking by using constraints or boundary conditions related to resources, budgets or time. Understand how you can use constraints to spur creativity when developing products. Experiment with designing an ECG machine for an emerging market, to see the power of constraints in harnessing creative ideas. Learn how Ratan Tata was able to reverse engineer the world’s cheapest car.

a) Effective Innovation

b) Training

c) Team Sport Innovation

d) Innovation Team

e) Constraints: The Source of Creativity

f) Constraint Types

g) Emerging Markets Constraint

h) Designing an ECG Machine – Constraints Applied: ECG Machine

  • Discussion: Constraints in Hospital Technology

i) Designing the TATA Nano – Constraints Applied: Tata Nano

  • Engaging Leaders (CBS): Ratan Tata


a) Using Conceptual Thinking to Aid in Brainstorming: Chicken Eating Vegetables

b) Visualization Applied: Car Jack for Older People


Learn how truly creative ideas evolve from previous ideas and how we use the patterns we see to develop products that can help us stay ahead of the market. Further, learn a simple, systematic method for bringing interesting solutions out of ill-defined problems when developing products.

a) Senior Team

b) Innovation With Strategy

c) Get the Pipeline Moving

d) More Options

e) Winners or Losers

f) Templates: How Successful Ideas Evolve into Products

g) Turning Patterns Into Tools

h) Function Follow Form: Solving Ill-Defined Problems

i) Creating Serendipitous Mistakes

j) Function Follow Form: Working Process

k) Discussion: Finding Benefits in Strange Ideas


a) Finding the Pattern in Ads – Identify some of the deep structures and patterns that successful marketers use to get their message across.


Understand how removing features during product development sometimes surprisingly results in adding value. Explore how to replace a missing element with something from the environment of the product itself. Apply the tool of subtraction.

a) Subtractions Applied

  • Products
  • Services and More Products

b) Subtraction Case: Sedasys

c) Subtraction: Taking Away to Generate Value

d) Subtraction With Replacement

e) Subtraction Cases: Following the Method

f) Discussion: Full and Partial Subtraction


a) Apply the subtraction template to a product or service


Learn how to piggyback off current resources, when developing a product and to capture new value.

a) Task Unifications Applied

  • Communications
  • Products
  • Don’t Drink and Drive

b) Discussion:

  • How would you use task unification to communicate something in your organization?


a) Apply the task unification template to a product or service


Learn how to divide product and process functions in time and space to gain additional value.

  • a) Division Applied
  • Products
  • Processes

b) Discussion: Applying Division

c) Advice for Companies

d) How to Start

e) Final Advice


a) Collect Examples of Templates in Action


Learn about the significant value that creativity provides organizations in real terms of costs and future growth. Explore the impact of creative personal traits and fixed & growth mindsets on an individual’s motivation to develop creative ideas for products. Evaluate the power of experimentation, autonomy, diverse teams and rewards structures to help organizations stimulate innovation and creativity for product development.

a) Our Need for Creativity

b) How Can We Learn to Generate Creative Ideas

c) Discussion: Generating Creative Ideas for Products (3 Components)

d) Innovation: Implementing Creative Ideas for Products

e) Overcoming Barriers to Creativity (Creative CORE)

f) Generating Creative Ideas for Products (3 Necessary Components

g) Individual Motivation and Creativity

h) Cultivating Motivation: Fixed and Growth Mindsets

i) Discussion: Applying the Creative CORE to Organizations

j) Four Principles for Organizations to Overcome Barriers

k) Next Steps to Developing Innovative Ideas for Products

l) Discussion: Barriers to Organizational Innovation

Benefits to the learner

Intellectual Capital
  • Global IVY Education
  • Rigorous and experiential curriculum
  • World-renowned faculty
  • Globally Connected Classroom: Peer to Peer Learning Circles
  • Action Learning: Learning by Doing
Brand Capital
  • Certificate from EMERITUS in collaboration with Columbia
    Business School
Social Capital
  • Build new networks through peer interaction
  • Benefit from diverse class profiles
Career Capital
  • Professional Acceleration through our enriched leadership toolkit
  • Learn while you earn
  • Get noticed. Get ahead.

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