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Phil McKinney, the chief technology officer of Hewlett-Packard's personal systems group, may not be familiar with the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) - an innovation methodology - but he is talking about a key TRIZ tool in a new interview: the ideal final result.

The article quotes McKinney as saying: "Devices today are always some kind of a compromised device—never...perfect. I want a big screen, but it weighs too much. I want 50 hours of battery life, but I can't pick up the battery. Ultimately, it's how do you build a device that requires the user not to have to make any compromise."

Begin the innovation process by determining the ideal outcome - the best possible of all scenarios. Starting from a position of compromise and concession immediately restricts the creativity and overall potential for new product, process or service development.

Instead, work backward from the ideal. Consider what it will take. And when you run into contradictions along the way - solve them using the inventive principles of TRIZ (which will be the topic of my next blog).

Katie Barry is the editor of Real Innovation and The TRIZ Journal.