The Attribute Dependency Technique tends to produce innovations that are smart. They seemingly know when to adjust or change in response to a change in something else. It is one of five techniques of the SIT innovation method, and it accounts for a majority of new product innovations.
Attribute Dependency differs from the other techniques in that it uses attributes (variables) of the situation rather than components. Start with an attribute list, then construct a matrix of these, pairing each against the others. Each cell represents a potential dependency (or potential break in an existing dependency) that forms a Virtual Product. Using Function Follows Form, we work backwards and envision a potential benefit or problem that this hypothetical solution solves.
Consider this unique example of Attribute Dependency: music that changes in relation to another variable. As reported by Springwise:
Since the advent of digital music we’ve seen a number of artists trying to offer something different to their fans. UK musician Gwilym Gold’s Tender Metal is a downloadable piece that mutates each time the listener plays it. The album is being released solely for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. When using the app, the components of the tracks of Tender Metal are seamlessly and subtly reconfigured each time they are played, meaning that each listening experience is different from the last. Users can choose to loop tracks in order to hear it constantly shift, or shake the phone to ‘regenerate’ the piece from its current permutation. The innovation allows for endless reinterpretations of the music without it being performed live, ultimately offering a more immersive experience for fans.
Smartphones and tablets have become an important platform for these types of innovations because of their ability to track two important variables: location and time. For example, the musical band, Bluebrain, created an album called National Mall that responds to the listener’s location as they journey down the Mall in Washington DC. “As users approach tagged locations, the audio content of the album will alter to interact with the environment, thus creating a unique listening experience every time the album is played en-route.” According to Springwise:
For Bluebrain, this album is simply the start, with plans to release similar location-aware works for Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York in the summer, followed by an album to be experienced whilst journeying along California’s Highway 1. Location-based technology is increasingly incorporated into products and services far and wide. If you haven’t already, this is one to try for yourself!
The combinations of time-based or location-based linkages to a smartphone are endless.
image credit: lucreid
Drew Boyd is Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd