As you may remember, the 5th template of the S.I.T. method of creativity is Attribute Dependency, the template that is perhaps the hardest to implement but the most widely used in the innovation of products and services. As obvious in its name, attribute Dependency is the first template where we introduce the idea of attributes, rather than just components.
In general, each component has certain attributes, which can change based on a variety of factors. For example, a cup of coffee is made of a cup and a handle and also contains sugar, coffee and milk. The attributes of those components - the shape and size of the handle, the temperature of the water – will vary.
Attribute Dependency is about creating or breaking a connection between attributes. As one attribute changes, so does the other. For example, your store can run a sale where the price of a suit depends on the temperature outside (70 degrees=$70). You can charge less at your restaurant for customers who eat their meals quicker, offer free delivery for delayed delivery times or a cheaper price for those who can be flexible with their delivery windows. By overcoming fixedness and thinking of different ways to make connections between attributes, you can develop creative strategies to market your brand.
I know it’s a lot to digest, so let’s try to put it into practice with your restaurant.
You’ve previously listed some of its components - food, location, customers and staff. Let’s work with food. Its many attributes can include:
· The price of the food
· The weight of the food
· The temperature at which the food is served
· The type of food
· The genre of food
· The health of the food
· The size of the food
· The display of the food
This list can obviously continue on but I wanted to just give you a feel for the type of attributes we are talking about. Up until now you probably decided to charge for the food based on its hard costs, but attribute dependency forces us to discover new relationships. Perhaps we can price the food based on how fancy we display the plate. Or maybe the menu can list the prices based on the weight of the item? Perhaps you can charge based on the amount of calories in the item – the extra cheese pizza now costs $7.50 since it’s more caloric than the thin crust ones.
Let’s try this again with the customers. If we listed their attributes we could name:
· The age of the customer
· The height of the customer
· The weight of the customer
· The sport team the customer follows
· The eye color of the customer
· The occupation of the customer
Just imagine if you ran a promotion geared to certain customers. Monday was blue-eye-day where customers with blue eyes received a discount. Tuesday was medical-day and doctors received one. Wednesday was for those under 5”2 and Thursday was for those between ages 35-50. It would definitely be an innovative way of looking at things. Your restaurant would be seen as different, as people would never know what dependency you’d come up with next.
Attribute Dependency gives us a new way of looking at the world. Perhaps you’ll dare to use on one of these new ideas in your new restaurant?