When innovating a new product, most entrepreneurs think that they must invent something completely new and different in order to be successful. Yet not only are they mistaken, but this line of reasoning can cause a downward spiral and eventually bankruptcy. Creating something from scratch is very expensive, with a need for more staff, product and machinery. By undertaking on a totally new product, one is taking on a huge responsibility that may not be necessary.
Additionally, the only way to innovate is not by creating a new ‘invention’; reinventing a line of the product or additional feature is also innovative. The original vacuum cleaner was innovative, as people beforehand used a broom or mop to clean. A roomba, a self-cleaning vacuum cleaner, though, is innovative as well. Just because something came second does not mean it is less innovative. An addition or switch to the product can also be innovative, and far less costly.
Multiplication is the SIT method where a component of the product or system is copied but changed in a counterintuitive way. It seemed funny at the time to take the original razor which had one blade, and to add another blade and change it so it cut differently. Why would anyone need a second blade on their razor, and have it cut the hairs differently? To us, now, it is obvious - the additional, altered blade gives a better, closer shave. But at the time it seemed absurd, and eventually revolutionary.
Multiplication often sees comical. Why would I want to change something that works now? By following the steps of the multiplication technique and asking yourself, what is the benefit of this new altered product, you will come face to face with new, innovative ideas.
The next time you have a product or event you want to innovate, try copying and altering a feature. Add a new track to your conference, instead of adding a second annual one. Add another demographic your product is reaching, instead of starting a new company. Use the multiplication technique and you will save time, money and a lot of heartache!