Patterns of Creativity in Japan Lessons from Successful Japanese Companies – A Resource

Patent Hybrids

Go through your bank of patents in depth and identify new ideas.

Instead of hiring outside experts, develop generalists who are familiar with all aspects of the company and can see possible linkages and envisage hybrid technologies from existing patents.

Example: Facing a waning VTR market in the mid-80′s Sony brought together researchers from disparate divisions to develop ways of using Sony’s VTR technology in new products. Results include the ‘all-in-one’ large screen VTR-TV-Stereo and the ‘Videodiscman’.

Example: Japanese textile makers combined traditional techniques with advanced chemical technology to diversify into industrial dyes.

Example: Canon and Ricoh developed hybrid products such as the ‘electronic whiteboard’

Source: Tatsuno, S. (1990). Created in Japan: from imitators to world-class innovators.