What is Attribute Dependency?
The basic principle underlying this tool is creating and dissolving dependencies between variables of a product. In Attribute Dependency, we work with variables rather than components (as opposed to all other tools described earlier). A variable is something that has the potential to change values; it is easy to identify as a characteristic that can change within a product or component (e.g. color, size, material). Variables can be internal and external, internal variables are those that can be controlled by the manufacturer, while external variables are out of the manufacturer’s control. In a drinking glass, for example, the thickness of the glass is internal, while the temperature of the liquid inside is external.
Applying Attribute Dependency
1. Create a list of a product’s internal and external variables.
2. Pair off the variables, playing internal against internal and internal against external
variables. Include also Time and Space variables.
3. For each pair, identify whether a dependency already exists between the variables.
4. If a dependency does not exist, create one; if it does, try to change or dissolve it.
5. Visualize each newly created virtual product form.
6. Identify its potential benefits, markets and advantages (market filter – can we sell it?)
7. Apply the implementation filter (can we make it?)
8. Make necessary adaptations.
Example: Nestea Cool® Packaging
The Nestea Cool brand is a sub-brand of Nestea, so called because it is supposed to be extra-refreshing. The iced tea is recommended to be consumed at cold temperatures. The product that was launched includes an indicator on the bottle’s label to let the consumer know when the iced tea has reached the temperature for maximum enjoyment. A snowman is the brand’s icon and the concept’s implementation was that there is a temperature-sensitive part on the Nestea Cool label in which the snowman, himself, appears when the bottle is cold. When it is not cold enough, a “skeleton” of the snowman can be seen.