Assumptions about how a product should look and perform create intellectual boundaries. As noted by Michalko, 1 they become so ingrained that they are never challenged. Flipping 2 and reversing are techniques for challenging the assumptions. For example, it is assumed that delivered pizzas should be cheap, hot, fast, and have standard toppings. How about cold, slow, and nonstandard toppings? Cold pizza is not a good idea, but perhaps expensive pizza, with slow delivery and gourmet ingredients, could be a winner. The first thing to do in this approach is to list all the features of a product, reverse the features, and then see what features make sense.
Other ideas where assumptions and product features have been challenged include the following:
- Taking your car to the glass shop to have the window repaired
- New assumption: The glass shop repairs the crack in the car window at your work.
- High-resolution expensive camcorder with many features
- New assumption: The popular Flip Mino was a low-resolution inexpensive camera with very few features. It was popular at one time because it could easily upload files to the Internet.
- Use global positioning system to get you to a location
- New assumption: Give other people your location and let them find you or come to you.
- Putting condiments in glass bottles
- New assumption: Flipping by putting condiments in plastic and turn them upside down (ketchup).
- Have spaghetti tonight, chili tomorrow, and macaroni and cheese the next day
- New assumption: Have Cincinnati Chili tonight. It includes spaghetti, chili, onions and lots of cheese.
Social networking Web sites have championed the idea of combining services in new ways (often referred to as mashups). For example, Facebook combines blogging, photo sharing, marketing, and instant messaging. Twitter has combined text messaging, mini-blogging, instant news, customer tracking, and paparazzi activities in one simple yet powerful system. All in one printers, multipurpose stadiums and Kansas City Chili are additional examples of how simple ideas can be combined into useful products.