Wednesday, November 20, 2013


8th Iberoamerican Innovation Congress, Merida, Mexico

Sixty people from Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and the US  gathered at the Hyatt in Merida, Yu, Mexico for the 8th Iberoamerican Innovation Congress, Nov. 20-22, 2013. Many university students participated in the tutorial sessions on the preceding days, then joined the main congress.   We were welcomed by the government economic development officials of the state of Yucatan (and 3 video photographers AND 5 still photographers!)  and the city of Merida.   AMETRIZ President Humberto Aguayo-Tellez declared the session open, and the director of economic development and the secretary of commerce gave short addresses on the importance of promotion of innovation.  (My loose translation of the topic, and the contents.)

The opening paper was delivered by Noel Leon, “How can we integrate TRIZ/QFD with new methods of innovation?   Blue Ocean Strategy, Design Thinking, Data Mining, Social Networks.”  Prof. Leon started with a review of invention and innovation with and without TRIZ, emphasizing the spiral nature of progress, and the need for continual attention to the changing needs of the customers and the need for business decisions.  

Blue Ocean strategy is now being taught in 1400 universities in 99 countries as a way of finding the business strategies for potential success amid all the possible improvements/innovations  in any competitive situation.   The classical TRIZ technical contradictions (trade-offs) are very similar to the Blue Ocean contradictions, and both methods agree that resolving a contradiction is the heart of breakthrough.  

“Design thinking”  is now used outside the design discipline and includes many of the aspects of QFD—understanding the customer, measuring the factors that are important to the customer, and in general making the human interaction the focus of the innovation process.  Both strategic and tactical levels of design thinking  are in use.   Ideality, with emphasis on performing the function without harm, is very useful in achieving the goals of the design thinking approach, and the Ideal Final Result formulation of solution helps the designer focus  on the functionality of the system.   Another aspect of design thinking is usually called “empathy” and encompasses many aspects of understanding the customer from many different points of view.     The experimentation and collaboration phases of design thinking likewise are compatible with the TRIZ methods, particularly the “effects” search systems, and the learning phase of design thinking echoes the feedback and improvement phases of all systems, from Deming’s  Plan-Do-Study-Act  to ARIZ’s stage 9 where each problem/solution is examined to see how the knowledge gained can improve the whole system. 

Prof. Leon introduce the tool  Quantum Leap Buzz, the leading provider of social media search, and a meta-tool for understanding the popularity of search terms.   It is becoming the leading indicator of unmet customer needs, and therefore the predictor of  plausible business directions.   It is a front end for TRIZ and Design Thinking, and input to the Blue Ocean Strategy on the relative reputation of competitors.

Conference organizer Guillermo Cortes Robles was the next speaker, emphasizing the social nature of innovation, in the motivation and collaboration methods of the innovators.   He challenged the group to consider how such a social interaction can have the speed of dynamic realignment required in today’s business world.   A partial answer is the evolution from “world wide web” to the semantic web that permeates all activity and facilitates access to massive databases whenever and wherever needed.   His demonstration of the linkages and networks of relationships between the data  in systems were impressive, and graphically emphasized the need for integrated understanding, rather than point-by point accumulation of information.   His examples from Amazon, Netflix, EBay, etc., made the theory come alive for the audience.   Extensive discussion (in 2 languages!) followed the 2 presentations.

After the break I led a workshop on the use of the 5- and 6-element versions of the method of complete (technical) system analysis—I’m trying to get the word “technical” dropped, since all systems  perform functions, so the distinction between technical and “non-technical” systems disappears.  
---------------Blog will continue after lunch  (hey, this is a semi-live report...)

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