The Specificator


The Specificator is a small, helpful tool to prevent the so dangerous generic thinking, creating and working.

“Many teams are only not innovatively successful because they think, create and work too generically”, this is my experience and thesis, now based on ten years of working in international

Innovation business is based. Particularly in our increasingly complex world, working too generically at too high a flight altitude is not expedient and even wastes valuable resources. In addition, this mistake of flying too high can be made several times in innovation processes such as design thinking or others.

It starts with too generic leading questions like “How can we strengthen the bond with our customers?”, goes to generic syntheses like “We are too far away from our customers” and ends with much too generic ideas like “We need to communicate more”.

There are many reasons for this phenomenon:
– With generic you stay in your comfort zone
– Generic is so beautifully simple
– Generic does not make tired
– Generic goes fast
– Generic also works without passion
– In the generic all always agree
– and so on

Conversely, this means specific, concrete thinking, creating and working:
– strains
– Makes tired
– challenges us
– Leads to discussions
– needs more time
– demands our passion
– challenges our creativity
– and so on

If you look at innovatively successful teams, you’ll immediately notice, “The successes always and only result from specific, concrete thinking and work.” It can be observed that great innovations almost always arise from small details, problems and needs. Only those who have an eye for the small detail will celebrate great innovation successes.

This insight is also not new – it has been known for many years from problem solving approaches to complex unstructured problems. A well-known method that helps to get to the heart of the matter here is the well-known “5 W method”. The 5 Why Method, also called the 5 W Method or 5 Why or 5W for short, is a method in the field of quality management for determining cause and effect.

The goal of this application of the five “Why?” questions is to determine a cause for a defect or problem. The number of requests is not limited to five, this number is symbolic. It is important to follow up until the process step causing the error is clearly identified and can no longer be split up further – the flight level is thus lowered from generic to specific.

Example Problem: The vehicle does not start.

Why does the vehicle not start? The starter battery is empty.
Why is the starter battery empty? The alternator does not work.
Why does the alternator not work? The V-belt is broken.
Why is the V-belt broken? The V-belt has never been replaced.
Why has the V-belt never been replaced? The vehicle has never been serviced before.

Here we would now come to the brainstorming about establishing regular maintenance or a maintenance indicator that warns of maintenance not being completed.

In the verrocchio Institute for Innovation Competence, we have developed the Specificator in recent years. We apply this Specificator to challenges/guiding questions as well as to pre-ideas and ideas. The Specificator is a rule set applied to leading questions and ideas.

Registered Users will find a detailed description of the use of methods in a meeting or workshop context in the next section. Signing Up is free of charge

In addition to this description, you will find complete instructions on how to use the method in a team meeting or workshop in the Innovation Wiki. All you need to do is sign up for free and you will have access to this and more than 700 other methods and tools.

You would like to have access to more than 700 Methods for better Workshops, Innovation Projects und sustainable Meetings - testet and described by Innovation Professionals from all over the world?

Sign up for free and start right now!