Business Value Innovative Thinking Symbols

BVITS is a systematic thinking methods for creative and breakthrough ideas on demand. By following BVITS, users can come out with break through ideas easily. BVITS is easy to learn but it is extensible to suit the domain of your problems or business.

BVITS is an integration of many creative and innovative thinking methods, visual and mind mapping, axiomatic design, system thinking and others for breakthrough innovative thinking. It is useful for generating new innovative ideas, problem solving, process re-engineering, new products and services, and even Business Strategies and policies.

Innovative thinking differs from just creative thinking in that the thinking must result in providing business value to the users of the methods, services or products.

BVITS is shown in the diagram below:

BVITS Overview

BVITS has 3 Key Steps and Components

  1. System & Environment: Relate the System-Object to its environment.
  2. Operator Symbols: Apply the Operators to System+Environment.
    BVITS has 10 thinking operators represented by the simple symbols of   - take out,+ combine, x multiply, / divide, ζ irregularize, ←adopt, →outsource, ~ invert, ∞ intensify, v drop-in or pictorially shown later.
  3. Dimension of space, time, transformation and others. The Thinking Symbol Operator when applied to System+Environment can be done across the Dimension of space, time and transformation.

BVITS can be used for ideas generation or problem solving. In this overview, we will use it for idea generations.

For the first example, we use a product for illustration. Let take a desktop computer.



First step is to identify the system and relate to its environment.

1a. System Components: CPU, Storage, Monitor, Keyboard and mouse.

1b. Environment: Printer, Power, Table, TV, Tape-Recorder, Network, Lights

We need not be exhaustive at first. BVITS is a iterative method. We can analyze the system and its environment more when we reach a jam.

System does not exists alone. It is related to its environment. The boundary and interfaces between the systems and the environment, and the components in the environment provides opportunities for new innovations or answers to the problems faced in the system. As proponents of Triz method like to say "the solution to the problems lies in its environment".

Step two is to Apply the Operator

Which operator to start with is not important. We are also encourage to combine the operators. The generate ideas through the various combinations are to challenge our mind and break our thinking inertia. Hence it is important not to throw out the ideas immediately as nonsense or impractical. It is to challenge to think of possible uses and value of the proposed ideas.

CombineOperator + Combine

Combine is to merge two or more parts into one part while still providing the same functions as before. Other wording for combine is convergeunify or consolidate.

Product ideas:

  • Merge CPU+Monitor+Keyboard+Mouse into one unit .... that is a Laptop.
  • Combine Keyboard+Mouse into a single piece .... keyboard with a trackball, keyboard with button type joy-stick, touchpad (no mouse but achieves the function of a mouse).
  • Combine Storage + Monitor ?
  • Combine CPU+Storage... the Brick Computer - A cheap portable.

TakeoutOperator - Take Out

Take away, minus, one or more component of the system.

  • Computer without CPU .... a modular computer with easy CPU upgrades.
  • Computer without Storage ... a network Java computer.
  • Computer without keyboard and mouse monitor... server farm.
  • Computer less CPU, keyboards etc with only storage.... network storage system or thumb drive.

divideOperator / Divide

Divide is to segment the system or components further and/or make it removable/pluggable

  • from fixed disk storage to removable storage.
  • divide the disk storage further --- multiple disks, USB disk, cd-rom, etc.
  • divide the CPU further - special processors for Disc IO, graphics processor, etc.
  • divide the keyboard further ... folderable keyboards, numeric pad only, etc.
  • divide the monitor further .... the multiple windows system (by software), multiple monitors handle by one cpu.

multiplyOperator x Multiply

Create multiple copies of the components and/or change some properties of copies.

  • multiply cpus .... dual core, quad core, multiple processors
  • multiply Computers... grid computing
  • multiply monitors... newer laptop now can support extended window on another screen.
  • multiply keyboards... multi-users shared one computer. This is great savings. 

outsourceOperator outsource

Replace a component/function from the system by an object in the environment.

  • replace the monitor by the TV in the environment instead.... Apple II c micro-computer, the US$100 pc.
  • remove the storage and use the Network for storage .... network storage, internet storage; or Disc Storage by Tape/VCR.
  • remove the keyboard and use finger or pen of the operator ... touch screen input, the tablet PC.
  • outsource CPU to the environment ... Biocomputing ?


 Operator Adopt

Take a function presently done the Environment and get it done by the System. This is the opposite of outsource.

  • Bring TV into the computer - Computer with TV-add on allowing watching TV on computer screen.
  • Bring Tape recording function into the computer - ability to play and store music with mp3 software/media player.
  • Bring Printer into the Computer - New HP computer with printer incorporated.
  • Bring TV, tape-recorder, etc into the computer - Media Center PC, Apple.


Operator ζ irregularize

Make the properties of the system or its components non-uniform or irregular. Symmetry is a typical psychological inertia of our mind. Making it irregular breaks this inertia. Symmetry means unchanging with respect to certain axis or property. To break the symmetry, just create a dependency relationships between properties of the system components or the system and its environment.

  • Create a dependency between Computer and Table - furniture tailored made for computer or vice versa. Make computer a decoration piece of furniture.
  • Create a dependency between TV and computer. Let the computer control the TV or vice versa (Invert Operator)
  • Create a dependency between computer and lights - the LCD panel light is dependent on the environmental lightings e.g. Acer ambient light sensitive LCD Laptop.


Operator ~ invert

Reverse the relationships between the components of the system or its relationships with the environment. The relationship can be relative spatial, time or other physical attributes as in the Dimension described above.

Invert Operator is the most common operator taught in Creative Thinking.

  • Inversing the Desktop components spatial relationships into all integrated one give rise to the laptop computer.
  • We can also split out all the components of the computer into separate single function standalone portable components e.g. portable drive, thumb-drive. monitor of different types, keyboards, mouse, etc.


Operator ∞ intensify

Change a parameter of the system or its component and increase it to the extreme value either positive or negative direction.

  • Intensify CPU - have super-computing power.
  • intensify Storage - unlimited storage on one end or no-storage on the other.
  • intensify Monitor - super large monitor or super-small monitor (wearable spectacle's visor)
  • intensify Keyboard - super large keyboard, special keyboard, or no keyboard for disable
  • Changing the size of the Desktop computer gives portable, laptop, ultra-laptop, PDA, wearable. The wearable computers uses many operators described in BVITS (keyboardless(voice command), small visor for monitor, power by motions, clothing as conductor etc.)

dropinOperator v drop-in

Learn from the best practices of other industries, countries & cultures or living organisms and apply it to the system and its environment.

  • Learning from the Aircraft industries to ensure secured and reliable software and to make reliable hardware.
  • Learning from different languages such as Chinese Input to enhance English input methods with picking from a list of possible words.

Step 3 Introducing Another Dimension

In step 2 when we apply the operator on the system & environment, we tend to think in terms of physical objects or group of people if we use BVITS for management. Dimension tells us there are more ways to look at the issue. For those familiar with Triz, this Dimension thing provides of breaking of contradictions (A Contradiction is a dilemma that requires two conflict attributes to exist at the same time. See Triz literatures for physical and technical contradictions).

When we can't say Divide an component into physically, we can divide them across the time dimension, or change its physical state of solid into say liquid or gas and so forth. We could applies the dimension together say at the beginning it is liquid and later it is solid (e.g. Concrete).

Dimension can be

  1. Space:
    1.  where, location
    2. Magnitude
    3. 2 D Shape & Area Size
    4. 3 D Volume or Another Dimension
    5. Relationships between 2 or more objects
      1. inside, cover, outside, Nesting
      2. left, right, top, bottom
      3. upside down
      4. tilt at an angle, from horizontal (on table), mount it on wall
      5. from vertical relationship to horizontal relationship
      6. centralized, decentralized
      7. first -> last
    6. speed
      1. Mobility
      2. continuous improvement
      3. dynamic teams
      4. vibration - resonant frequency
  2. Time:
    1. start, duration, end
    2. pre-action, in-action, post-action
    3. stages of a life-cycle
    4. frequency
    5. time of day, week, seasons,
    6. states change
    7. sequence, timing
    8. concurrent actions
  3. Transformation:
    1. color and its transparency
    2. solid-liquid-gas
    3. fixed, joints, multiple joints, flexible
    4. smooth, holes, porous
    5. gravity, mechanical, thermal, chemical, sonar, electromagnetic
  4. Others:
    1. optimization, introduce intermediary, self-serve

Consolidating and Actualization

The Operators can be used in conjunctions to generate many ideas. The ideas can be consolidated into new innovative product.

Ideas Generator Program

The BVITS methods described here can be easily computerized. In fact, it is better for a machine to generate ideas than for us to manually go through them. It will prevent our bias and inertia from stopping the seemingly ridiculous ideas. 

The program is written with the Axon Idea Processor   It is included as a program in the Generator Demo Section of the Axon software.

You can try it by downloading the trial version and test it out. It is also my pleasure to introduce Axon Idea Processor to you for your other thinking work.