18. Example: Bicycle

18.Example: Bicycle

Bicycle is a type of transportation. The basic Outcomes for all forms of transportation are the same. There are only two Outcomes, an item is at one location then is at a different location.

Transportation Outcomes

Drawing 3: High-level Outcomes for Transportation

Even though the most basic Outcome diagram has only two Outcomes there are many other performance Outcomes to achieve the ideal for transportation.

Transport what you want,
when you want, where you want,
the way you want,
with what and whom you want,
for the price you want with no hassle.
  • Where the item is being moved to and from?
  • When you start to transport the item? Start time.
  • When the item arrives?
  • Cost: Length of time needed to transport the item is a cost.
  • Cost: Damage from a lack of safety is a cost.
  • Hassle: Lack of safety also causes hassle.
  • Cost: Energy needed to move the item is a cost.
  • Cost: Pollution from transportation is a cost.
  • Hassle: Anything that reduces comfort is a hassle.
  • What item is being transported?
  • Who wants the item transported?
  • With: Combinations of items being transported.

The chunked down or zoomed in Outcome diagram looks like this:

 Chunked Down Transportation Outcomes

Drawing 4: Chunked down Outcomes for Transportation

Notice that the first 4 Outcomes are a more detailed description of “Item is at a location” and the second 4 Outcomes are a more detailed description of “Item is at a different location”.

I’ve left out of the diagram the cost of pollution and energy because it’s not part of the required Outcomes to achieve the goal of transportation. Those extra Outcomes are important fertile areas of innovation.

Another very important point to consider is the purpose of transportation. The basic Outcome of transportation is to move an item from one location to a different location. Often people will perform a task because it satisfies another desire. Many people ride bicycles for exercise or entertainment. Optimizing the different Outcomes for exercise or entertainment is very different from riding a bicycle purely for transportation.

A perfect example of the Outcomes being different based on the purpose is a stationary exercise bicycle. A stationary bicycle is useless for transportation but ideal for many Conditions of exercise or entertainment.

Determine the purpose
before drawing an Outcomes diagram.


The Functions of a bicycle are determined by the Outcomes. A stationary exercise bicycle has different Functions than a bicycle used for transportation. Both share some Functions such as acquiring energy from the user.

Functions Bicycle

Drawing 5: Bicycle Function Diagram

Even though a stationary bicycle doesn’t move the user still needs it to stop and wants it pointed in the desired direction. Also the energy isn’t transferred to the ground but something must be done with the energy collected from the user pedaling.


The ideal statement can help identify the Elements. Who and what are Objects. Where and when are Conditions or Begin and End States. Cost and hassle are undesired End States.


  • Location of item. This is where the item currently is located. Transporting the item changes the location of the item.
  • Item being transported
  • Health of person transported
  • Comfort of person transported
  • Amount needed to transport
  • Maximum energy level needed to transport
  • Energy available for transporting

Begin States

  • Location where the item is before the Action of transporting is the Begin State
  • Being healthy and undamaged is a typical Begin State
  • Time transporting begins

End States

  • The destination is the End State of the location of the item.
  • An item being damaged or unhealthy is an undesired End State.
  • Tired, undesired for transportation. Possibly desired for exercise.
  • Wet from perspiration, undesired.
  • Time transporting ends
    • On-time, desirable
    • Early, desirable, neutral
    • Late, undesirable
  • Length of time to transport


  • Move
  • Stop
  • Turn
  • Rest
  • Lean
  • Park
  • Mount / Dismount


  • Start time can affect the end time, safety, etc.
  • End time
  • Location where the item is moving. The location Condition is a different concept from the location Object. Condition affects the ability of being able to change the Object. Transporting the item to a location that is far away will affect the ability to transport it.


There are many Resources available in transportation including: passenger, weather, other vehicles, gravity, time of day, surface of the road, etc.


Once you have the Functions defined you can perform the Function using Components. The 15 Alternatives and 7 Elements also apply to Components so you can start with an existing device like a bicycle and find Alternatives for each Component.


A bicycle has many Components. Lets look at 9 of the major Components.

  • wheels
  • tires
  • handle bars
  • seat
  • frame
  • gears
  • brakes
  • pedals
  • forks

Objects for wheel:

Size, shape, weight, solid, spoked, material






Single wheel directly moves bicycle

Single wheel, unicycle

Wheel is added to the bicycle.

Single indirect wheel

Wheel drives treads

Single Other than wheel, ski

Other part of the bicycle






Wheel stays with the bicycle, welded on

Becomes a single wheel, once

One wheel stabilizes, once, one condition




One wheel, once, one condition


Many wheels directly move bicycle (2 wheel drive)

Many wheels (tricycle, quad-cycle, etc)

Partial wheel,

Indirect, wheel not part of bicycle. Road is wheels like a conveyor.


Many other, skis


Many same, multiple fixed wheels

Partial same, part of wheel is fixed.

Wheel doesn’t change many times, some conditions

Wheel stabilizes many times, many conditions, many wheels

Becomes many wheels

Becomes a wheel many times, many conditions

Becomes part of a wheel

Wheel repairs many times, or conditions

Replace part of wheel

Wheel changeable, many options

All wheel bicycle (sphere like Illustration 29: Cage keeps tigers out)


No wheel

Any indirect, wheel drive treads, or propeller, etc.

All indirect

Any other, choose any option

All other, all options included

Any wheel stable

Wheel always same, last for lifetime

No wheel same, customized

Becomes any wheel, any condition

Becomes all wheel(s)

Becomes no wheel: track, float

Any wheel repaired

All wheels repaired

No wheel repairs, see Keep Stable

Chapter 17 Chapter 19


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