Title: Defining 'breakthrough' product design solutions

Authors: Darrell L. Mann

Addresses: Systematic Innovation Ltd., P.O. Box 93, Clevedon, BS21 7WD, UK

Abstract: This paper seeks to define necessary definitions of what qualifies a design solution to be classed as a breakthrough. Three key areas are identified; one relating to functional connectivity and two to the concept of Evolution Potential - firstly to minimum threshold technology acceptability, and then secondly relating to potential relative to an incumbent design. The Evolution Potential process has been designed to enable objective assessment of incumbent and new technology solutions, relative to a globally generic discontinuous evolution benchmark. The paper contains a series of mini case study examples of breakthrough and non-breakthrough design solutions. A final section of the paper summarises breakthrough innovation tests that may be applied to future candidate design solutions and discusses issues relating to definition sufficiency.

Keywords: non-linear; discontinuity; disruptive; trends; conflicts; product development; inventive problem solving; product design; breakthrough solutions; functional connectivity; evolution potential; breakthrough innovation; TRIZ.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2007.011539

International Journal of Product Development, 2007 Vol.4 No.1/2, pp.136 - 145

Published online: 01 Dec 2006 *

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