Innovation Sighting – Clothing to Keep You Cooler

Innovation Sighting - Clothing to Keep You CoolerThe Columbia Sportswear Company is launching a new line of clothing that keeps you…cooler. The Omni-Freeze® is a specialized fabric weave that increases the surface area of the fabric that contacts your bare skin. This transmits heat faster and feels cooler to the touch.

This is a great example of the Attribute Dependency Technique, one of five in the S.I.T. innovation method. Attribute Dependency differs from the other templates in that it uses attributes (variables) of the situation rather than components. Start with an attribute list, then construct a 2 x 2 matrix of these, pairing each against the others. Each cell represents a potential dependency that forms a Virtual Product. Using Function Follows Form, we work backwards and envision a potential benefit or problem that this hypothetical solution solves. In the case of Omni-Freeze®, the dependency is created between body temperature and layers of clothing.

What makes the Omni-Freeze® so special is the way the dependency was changed. Normally, we use the matrix to create a new dependency or break one that already exists. In this case, a dependency already existed between body temperature and layers of clothing – the more layers you have, the warmer you get. But with Omni-Freeze® clothing, the dependency is reversed – the more layers you have, the cooler you get. Reversing a dependency is a powerful and provocative way to break fixedness and create new innovations.

Here is a short demostration of the new product:

image credit: omnifreezezero

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Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at and at

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