After Thanksgiving we often have to deal with the leftovers. While we view the Thursday meal as the culinary focus, it’s the leftovers that result in innovation. So, I created an acronym for the innovation process from the word “leftovers”. It can apply to cooking a meal from leftovers or designing a new product.
L ook at the situation and define the problem (I’ve got a few people over for a party, leftovers in the fridge and beer chilling and people will be hungry. In what ways can I feed them?)
E ntertain possible combinations of solutions (I could order pizza…hmm, looks like an awful lot of turkey left, some stuffing, stuffing croquettes maybe?, gravy and a lot of cranberry sauce, a little pumpkin pie, some spicy hot mustard looks lonely in the fridge…hmm…I yell out some possible food combos to get feedback)
F ocus on the best solutions (…turkey sandwiches with cranberry mustard sauce – sweet!)
T est the best (throw together some cranberries and mustard in a shotglass and dip my finger in…niiiiice…grab some bread and start toasting it, try nuking a little turkey…)
O bserve and learn what works and what doesn’t (The microwave dries out the turkey too much, I heat up the oven and warm the turkey in there. Noticed that there’s too much juice in the bottom of the cranberry container- it’s making the mustard too watery…)
V alidate the results with more testing and feedback (Finished mixing the bigger batch of cranberry mustard and let my wife try it – she dunks in a piece of warm turkey from the oven and bites a piece of bread- amazing!!)
E scalate the scale of the implementation of the solution (Slice the bread, call the friends into the kitchen and have them build their sandwiches)
R eflect on what worked and what didn’t (Sandwiches were a hit, but the beer might have been too hoppy for that dish. Red meat only may actually have worked better, maybe chipotle pepper in the mustard for some smoke…)
S avor the Successes…
So there you have it – innovation from the leftovers!