Tic-Tac-Toe Strategic Planning

Management Division
2009 AIChE Annual Meeting
AIChE Annual Meeting
November 8, 2009 - 7:00pm

The Tic-Tac-Toe Approach to Strategic Innovation Planning

When we study the history and trends of technology development across a wide spectrum of technologies, several things stand out. First, there are similarities in how difficult problems are solved in different areas of science and technology. We see the same principle of increased dynamisn used in many mechanical systems to improve comfort as well as in the pricing of airline seats based on the then current fare yield and seats currently unfilled. Second, the evolution of technology also has followed certain predictable, though sometimes discontinuous steps. One of these is the field transition line we see in the evolution of communication “systems”. A long time ago, we beat on drums (a mechanical/acoustical field). Then we discovered smoke (thermal field) and subsequently writing (chemical field). Telephones (electrical field) followed by cell phones (electromagnetic field). This same field progression can be seen in chemical reaction technology, cooking, indicating devices, and numerous other systems. Thirdly, product and business development evolves in such a way as to integrate functions and systems into their super-systems. For example, we can look at all the functions now incorporated into what used to be fax machines and TV remote controls, not to mention hotel keys and cooking systems.

These trends have been defined within the TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving science) and can be pro-actively used in strategic product, engineering, and business planning in a very simple way through the use of a simple tic-tac-toe box. As we move from left to right in this box, we follow the lines of evolution mentioned above. Bottom to top visually describes the upward system integration. Systems inevitably move into the upper right hand corner of such a diagram. This talk will review some of these basic prediction lines and demonstrate with several examples the use of them in strategic planning.&'

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