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LiF 2016: Set-Based Thinking: Frontloading the product development process to assure shortest time-to-market


LiF 2016: Set-Based Thinking: Frontloading the product development process to assure shortest time-to-market

Traditionally product development has focused on selecting one concept at the early stage and then further develop it. This perhaps is what might feel more natural: focusing all our efforts in one direction so no time is wasted on resources eliminating many ideas that will never make it to the market anyway.

On the other hand, Set-Based Thinking could be considered the opposite approach to this latter traditional way as it emphasizes the importance of basing decisions on facts, investigating several concepts at the beginning which might delay the decision of which one to finally choose but avoiding high waste and cost of changing the product at a later stage.

The success of this approach, however, rests on the hope that the chosen concept is a good one, or at least feasible. But many projects encounter problems because this turned out not to be the case, and/or gaps in the knowledge needed to finish it emerged and could not be bridged. This causes severe loopbacks that jeopardize the project’s time and cost plans.

Set-Based Thinking is a very different, not to say the opposite approach to the Product Development which emphasizes the importance of basing decisions on facts. It amounts to investigating several or many concepts and delays the decision of which one to finally choose. This may seem counterintuitive at first but has proven to be the superior method. It is more efficient to have a wide scope in the beginning and learn about the properties of the alternative concepts to be able to successively eliminate inferior ones on the basis of knowledge instead of guesswork.


Successive elimination of alternative concepts

This presentation will take the participants on a short and efficient set-based product development journey into design space. The latter is endless and easy to get lost in unless you know how to navigate it. Along the way, we will see some tools that are useful to bring along on the trip.

To learn more about the “Set-Based Thinking”, join me at the Lean Innovation Forum on November 9, 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Lean Analytics Association

Lean Analytics Association (LAA) is a non-profit organization that helps companies to transform by enabling lean thinking in their innovation processes. LAA was founded in Switzerland in 2012 as a spin- off from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Our mission is to facilitate the transformation of companies by applying lean thinking and innovation best practices in the product development process. To accomplish our mission, we focus on enabling professionals to learn, innovate, and share to enable them to remove waste and accelerate the innovation outcomes providing training, organizing networking events and continuously research the latest trends.

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