What is Subtraction?

The idea in Subtraction is to remove an essential component from a product and find usages for the newly created virtual product.

People naturally add features in order to innovate. The act of subtraction is usually reserved for eliminating components that are responsible for undesirable characteristics. While beneficial when accomplished, the ideas created through this kind of removal process are not usually considered innovative and almost never lead to breakthroughs.

SIT’s Subtraction tool helps you address fixedness and innovate by compelling you to sacrifice a desirable element in your product.

First, try to find ideas without replacing the missing component. After subtracting an essential component, one naturally tends to look for a replacement to fulfill the missing component’s “dangling function”. In Subtraction, we try first to subtract both the component and its function.

When searching for a replacement, try first to replace the dangling function using readily available resources – those found in the Closed World. Try not to import external technologies or components. Only after exhausting these possibilities, move on to explore external replacements.

Applying Subtraction

1. List the components of the product.

2. Remove one essential component.

3. Visualize the resulting virtual product.

4. Identify its potential benefits, markets and advantages (market filter – can we sell it?)

5. Apply the implementation filter (can we make it?)

6. Make the necessary adaptations.

Example: iPod Shuffle

The Graphic User Interface and its function of the real-time track selection were removed

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