Even if you personally hate politics this article is important because all organizations have some system. Your company, family, or other relationships all operate on a system. Have you considered all the different systems available?
Government is a system of Who Decides and How the decision is made. It often is also mixed in with Who Pays. Whether Monarchy, Republic, Democracy, Dictator, Fascism, or Communism those are all the same basic type, Other Person Decides. Text books, news outlets, pundits, and especially the politicians repeatedly claim they and their flavor of system is different. When you closely examine those systems for Who Decides you see those are all the same type of system. If we really want to find better results we need a different approach. What are the other types?
Using Decider in a Predictive Innovation Alternatives Grid reveals 36 types of Who Decides.
|Same / Stable
|Return to Stable
|1||One person directly decides.
One person directly affected decides.
One person in favor of action decides.
One person who will benefit from action decides.Example:
|One opposing person decides.
One person who will suffer from the decision decides.
One person directly decides against the action.Example:
|One person decides actions of other people.
Other person once.
|One neutral person decides.
One unaffected person decides.
Unaffected person decides once.
One person stays the same.
Same person(s) once.
Decider same as Payer, User, etc.
|Becomes one person.
Person stabilizes once.
|One person fluctuates.
Person fluctuates once.
|%||Some people directly decide to do the action. “We agree to do this”
|Some people decide to not do it.
|% Voting decides actions of other people.
|Portion of same people decide.
Partially neutral people decide.
Some neutral people decide.Examples:
|Becomes a % of people.
Becomes a partial decider.
|People who vote fluctuate.
% required for an action to pass fluctuates.
Person partial fluctuates.
|M||Many people in favor of decision decide.
Many people directly decide, they do the action as a group.
Person in favor of decision many times.
Decided by many people directly related to the action or results.
|Many people opposed to the action decide.
Many people negatively affected decide.
Many people decide against action.
Group required to block an action.
Against action many times.
Multiple groups needed to decide against action.
|Many other people decide.
Something that can be decided by different people.
Group of 3rd party people required to decide.
|Many neutral people decide.
Need a number of neutral people to make decision.
Many people stay the same.
Same multiple people.
Decider same many times.
Neutral people decide many times.
|Starts as other type of decider then becomes a group.
Group stabilizes on size, or composition of members.
Many people fluctuate.
Person(s) fluctuates many times.
|∞||Anyone decides for the action.
|Anyone blocks an action.
||Any other person decides.
Seconding a motion in a meeting.
|Anyone stays the same.
Anyone same as anyone else.
Neutral person decides anytime.
Any neutral person decides.
Person stabilizes anytime.
Changes between anyone.
Person changes anytime.
Default is not do it.
Always person for action.
Always directly decide.
|Everyone must agree to block an action.
Opposite of anyone decides to do an action.
Always opposite person.
|Everyone else.Always other person.||Everyone the same.
Everyone in the deciding group stays the same.
Always the same person/people.
All the arbitration committee agrees.
Fluctuates between everyone.
|0||No one decides.
Person never decides directly. Person never decides for the action.Examples:
|No one blocks decision.
Free to do.
No one needed to block.
Unknown how to do action.
|No one else.
Decision exclusively made by one person or type of person. Never other person.
|No one stays the same.
Never same person.
Take turns to decide. (person decides once)
Stays no one.
Always randomly chosen.
|Becomes no one.
Never becomes a person.
|Person never changes (always the same)
No one changes.
How many other types of governments are there?
That chart shows 36 types and there are many examples for each type plus there can be combinations between types. Decider is only one aspect, the Decision, How the Decision is made, and Payer are also important because there are strong interactions. So there are 4 * 36 types = 144 and as many as 1,679,616 combinations. Keep in mind that Who Decides & Who Pays are crucial to Economic systems which are not the same as governments even though they interact.
There are a huge number of options rather than Other Person Decides. So the next time you are offered Party A or Party B think about the rest of the menu they never showed you.
That is a very important question because the only way to know if you’ve thought of the best idea is to know all the relevant ideas.
Several popular books attempt to list types of innovations. Doblin’s 10 types is one book and the very popular Business Model Canvas has almost the same list. Are their lists comprehensive?
Doblin lists 10 types of innovation and claims they found 104 specific examples and since first publication increased that to 112. That is a very interesting number because it points to the method they used and one of the fatal flaws in most approaches to generating ideas.
Predictive Innovation is based on Information Theory. It derives the types from logical proofs. This is how scientists like Albert Einstein predicted discoveries that led to nuclear energy and enabled space travel to the moon & Mars.
Predictive Innovation shows you both what to make and how to make it. Most importantly, Predictive Innovation shows you the comprehensive list of options. Not just, more, not just better. It shows you the entire picture and that is the only way to be sure you didn’t miss the best idea.
This video shows one piece of Predictive Innovation.
This video shows how it was applied to predictively reveal several innovations.
Chapter 19 of Doblin’s book states,
“We discovered the Ten Types of Innovation by empirically analyzing great innovations to determine the properties they shared.”
“We looked at some things that worked for someone in the past and we think they are similar in this way.”
“This worked before, copy it.”
That approach is very dangerous in two ways. First, you can’t innovate by copying. Second, the reason something worked in the past might not apply now. Conditions change. The factors that are important in one circumstance aren’t in another.
The reason I said it is significant that they found 104 examples and then found a few more to bring their number up to 112 is because that is the number of ideas where the human brain bogs down in processing more information. This stems from Miller’s research and the Magical Number 7, Plus or Minus Two.
If you pull random ideas out of the air it is very easy at first. Over time you start slowing down because you are spending increasing time comparing the new ideas with the ones you already listed trying to avoid duplicates. So you end up quitting searching long before you come close to finding all the options. Worse than that, those options might not even be relevant and many of them probably aren’t good.
While doing research to confirm the calculations of Predictive Innovation, we discovered that most industries only explore 13% of their idea space. Doblin’s 10 Types covers only 7%. That is about half of most industries. When you consider that they focused on only “great innovations” it makes perfect sense they covered so little of the idea space.
Lets look at how Predictive Innovation deals with the same question to see, how many types of innovations are there?
First Predictive Innovation breaks the problem down into fundamental pieces: Who, What, How, Where, When, Why. Then it breaks those down again into the fundamental relevant types.
|Beneficiary||Benefit (noun)||Benefit (verb)||Event, sequence, duration||Location, position||Benefit|
|User||Use (noun)||Use (verb)||Event, sequence, duration||Location, position||Use|
|Decider||Decision (noun)||Decide (verb)||Event, sequence, duration||Location, position||Decision|
|Payer||Payment (noun)||Pay (verb)||Event, sequence, duration||Location, position||Pay|
|Designer||Design (noun)||Design (verb)||Event, sequence, duration||Location, position||Goal|
|Producer||Product (noun)||Produce (verb)||Event, sequence, duration||Location, position||Produce|
|Transactor||Transaction (noun)||Transact (verb)||Event, sequence, duration||Location, position||Transaction|
|Communicator||Communication (noun)||Communicate(verb)||Event, sequence, duration||Location, position||Communication|
There are 36 Alternatives for each of the 48 types in that grid.
Innovation is about better satisfying desires. So that means it starts with people. There are 2 important types of people, Customers and Providers. In other words, Who buys and uses the innovation, and Who makes and provides it.
Who is the customer?
There are 4 roles performed by Customers: Beneficiary, User, Decider, Payer.
These can be the same person or any combination of people.
Who is the provider?
There are 4 roles performed by the Provider: Designer, Producer, Transactor, Communicator.
The list of provider roles can be broken up differently but that list of 4 is enough to be useful. Again each role can be done by any combination of people including customers.
So in total there are 8 Actors. Each Actor deals with their own “What”.
- Beneficiaries get benefits
- Users have uses
- Deciders make decisions
- Payers give payments
- Designers make designs
- Producers make products / services
- Transactors conduct transactions
- Communicators make, deliver, & interpret communications
The “Whats” are nouns. “Hows” are verbs, this is the activity they perform.
- Beneficiaries benefit from the results of using the product or service
- Users use products & services
- Deciders decide
- Payers pay
- Designers design
- Producers produce
- Transactors transact
- Communicators communicate
How many types of innovation are there?
The full list is 48 areas of innovation. But that is not comprehensive. There are 36 Alternatives for each of the 48 areas. So are at least 1728 specific types of examples. Most of those are what you would call business model innovations. If you calculate all the combinations it is 5.04 x 10^74. Way more than anyone could ever list but Predictive Innovation can pinpoint any one of those in just a few seconds.
Notice that all these are relevant. It isn’t a bunch of random ideas. It is a systematically generated comprehensive list. Since it is systematically generated you can easily identify the most valuable area to work on. Since it is comprehensive you can see areas that are open for new innovations and potentially better areas to explore.
An article in Foreign Policy claims there appears to have been “Military-Style Raid on a California Power Station”.
The second to last paragraph is a perfect example of intelligent innovation.
A shooter “could get 200 yards away with a .22 rifle and take the whole thing out,” Wellinghoff said last month at a conference sponsored by Bloomberg. His proposed defense: A metal sheet that would block the transformer from view. “If you can’t see through the fence, you can’t figure out where to shoot anymore,” Wellinghoff said. Price tag? A “couple hundred bucks.” A lot cheaper than the billions the administration has spent in the past four years beefing up cyber security of critical infrastructure in the United States and on government computer networks.
Systems break at the weakest point. Quite often that means the solution is the simplest thing.
Innovation doesn’t make any random thing better. Innovations improve the most important thing. Innovations must:
- better satisfy the currently most under-satisfied desire
- not reduce the satisfaction of other desires bellow the required level
- not over-satisfy currently satisfied desires