14. Multiplying Alternatives

14. Multiplying Alternatives

When you have Elements for all the Outcomes you want to work on, it’s time to multiply Alternatives. For problem solving projects describe Alternatives for Elements until you find a suitable solution. For innovation projects describe at least one of each of the 15 Alternatives for each element. This will generate 105 ideas for each Outcome. Since most scenarios have approximately 7 Outcomes you will have approximately 735 focused ideas organized into categories by Outcomes, Elements, and Alternatives. This will help you develop strategies.

735 Focused IdeasIllustration 53: 735 Focused Ideas

Each of the 105 innovation combinations for an Outcome are a type. There can be many different specific innovations for each type. The type is a description of an approach to achieving the Outcome. There can be many specific ways that fit the description.

Many of the Alternatives will have existing products or services. If you find an Alternative that has not been used it is a potential disruptive breakthrough innovation. The description of the other breakthroughs exist with Alternatives that were used in the past but not currently used. Newer technology can make those Alternative approaches achieve better results than current approaches.

Start Multiplying Alternatives by selecting from the list of Actions then describe an example for each of the 15 Alternatives. To help you get started find the box that an existing product fits such as Single Direct, then describe Multiple Direct and Continuous Direct for that product.

As you describe Alternatives you may find boxes that you can’t think of examples to match the descriptions. Do not expect to be able to find examples for each box; in fact you want to find boxes that don’t have examples. The empty boxes are the future innovations. Describe what should be in those boxes. The description will guide your innovations.

Direct Alternatives are usually the most obvious approach. Those Alternatives directly change the State of the Object. One example of a Single Direct is doing an Action to the Object once. Similarly if the Action can be performed in a single step, it is a Single. Multiple steps or being able to do it more than once is a multiple Action. Continuous is any, all, or none. Being able to do the Action an unlimited number of times is continuous. Being able to perform the Action in a smooth application instead of many steps is continuous. For cookies, that might mean an oven with a conveyor belt instead of cooking in batches.






to Stable



Example: Cookie Size

Size and shape are related Objects. Many different Actions and Tools can be used to change the size or shape of a cookie.



Bite once, bite one direction

Single cut (noun), perform cut (verb) once

Mold one shape or size, mold used one (disposable)

Measure one cookie at a time, measure a single size, measure in one step, measure one material


Bite multiple times, bite more than one direction

Multiple cuts, perform cut multiple times

Mold multiple shapes or sizes, mold used multiple times

Measure multiple cookies at a time, measure multiple sizes, measure in multiple steps, measure multiple materials


Never bite, bite any direction, bite all directions

Cuts all (powder, liquid), perform cut unlimited times

Mold any shape or size, mold used multiple times

Measure any number of cookies at a time, measure all the cookies from a batch at a time, continuously measure (flow measurement, measure throughout process), measure any size, measure any material, measure all materials



Not bite (completely fits in mouth, one cookie, one eater or type of eater), Bite different item, Cookie used to bite

Not cut (only weaken), Puncture, Cookie cuts something.

Create shape without molding, Dough applied to outside of something to create shape. Mouth is mold, forms to hand (squeeze), Cookie molds something else

Don’t measure, measure effect instead of cookie (displacement of liquid or gas)


Not bite multiple cookies (very small put many in mouth at once)

Many perforations, many thin spots to ease breaking

Create many shapes without a mold. Apply dough to outside of multiple Objects to create shape. Applied to outside in multiple ways.

Measure multiple other things, use cookie to do measurement


Never bite, cookie is soft enough to eat without biting regardless of size.

Cut: Cookie cuts anything

Mold: Cookie dough sticks to outside of any shape

Measure: Never measure because you know it is correct, statistical process control (SPC)

Keep StableKeep Stable


Keep one cookie the correct size, packaging prevents breakage

Keep rest of cookie together when biting off a piece, doesn’t crumble or crack.

Keep the cuts the correct size

Mold, stays correct size and shape

Measure, measure doesn’t change


Keep many cookies the correct size, packaging prevents breakage for many cookies, or many Conditions.

Keep cookies separate, many cookies.

Keep many cuts the correct size. Keep cookie the correct size or shape after multiple cuts.

Mold stays the correct size and shape many times.

Measure stays the same many times. Many measurements don’t change.


All the cookies are the correct size or shape.

All the cookies are kept separated.

Every cut is correct. Cuts are always correct.

Mold lasts forever. Mold works for any type of cookie.

Measurement continuous adjusted to stay correct.

Make StableMake Stable


Cookies become correct size. Shrink as they cool.

Cookie becomes shape of the package.

As the cookie cooks it becomes the correct shape.


Cookies can become many sizes. Able to select the size to which the cookie shrinks when it cools.

Cookies form to packages with many different shapes.

Many different shaped molds that cookies become the shape of as they cook.

Several different shaped nozzles on a tube of pre-made cookie dough.


Always becomes correct size.

All the cookies become the correct size or shape.

Cookies can become any shape. 3D printer makes nozzles of any shape for the tube of pre-made cookie dough.

Return to StableReturn to Stable


Mold can be repaired one time.

Single size or shape can change and return to correct size or shape.


Mold can be repaired many times.

Cookie can change size many times and return to correct size.


Mold can always be repaired.

Cookie can be shaped any number of times.


Chapter 13 Chapter 15


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