Webinar: Structured Innovation design tool

Webinar: Structured Innovation design tool
Marine Power Systems welder


6 April 2020

3 pm UTC / 4 pm CET


Inès TungaEnergy Systems Catapult

Mo Abrahams, Energy Systems Catapult


The third joint webinar with DTOceanPlus focuses on a Structured Innovation design tool.

The H2020 funded DTOceanPlus project is developing a Structured Innovation design tool for concept creation, selection, and design of ocean energy systems. It supports the decision-making of several user types, including technology developers, public funders, and investors, intended to provoke innovation and to help represent the voice of the stakeholders through the design process, manage risk and therefore produce new concepts for ocean energy systems.

Despite their success in other sectors, the processes within the Structured Innovation design tool have yet to be implemented in the ocean energy sector. Without such an approach, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to objectively create and analyse innovative technologies, and compare competing technologies.

The tool will allow the designer to understand the logical “art of the possible” when considering the design targets, which is critical to the success of the design, and commercial realisation. The art of the possible rather than the state-of-the-art considers ideality of devices or processes only limited by physics (e.g., Betz limit, yield strength) and extreme conditions to provoke new concepts.

Led by the Energy Systems Catapult, the project representatives describe the general concepts of the Structured innovation design tool, its practical implementation, and future work. 

View presentation slides here.





Many sectors are beginning to shift to a structured innovation approach that is based on customer requirements – not commonly used yet in the ocean energy sector.

Lack of a standard structured innovative process for ocean energy technologies:

-        Makes it difficult to impartially analyse innovative designs.

-        Renders impossible to objectively compare competing technologies.

-        Can lead to functional fixedness.

The Structured Innovation tool aims to:

-        Provoke innovation and help represent the voice of the customer/end-user

-        Allow the design to understand the art-of-the possible for concept targets

-        Enable objective comparisons between various technologies.

-        Enhance systematic thinking for design beyond the current state-of-the-art.

-        Create new or improve concepts.

Who benefits from it?

-        Technology developers – to create/assess areas of improvement and technical challenges

-        Funders & Investors – to identify attractive areas of innovation for investment

-        Innovators & Developers – to assess novelty in technology at any level of aggregation

Three modules of the Structured Innovation Tools are:

-        Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

-        Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ)

-        Failure Modes and Effect Analysis (FMEA)

These modules together capture and prioritise user requirements, assess solutions for impact and improve commercial acceptability.

The DTOceanPlus suite of tools will support the entire technology innovation and advancement process from concept, to development, to deployment.

The structured innovation module in DTOceanPlus is aimed at an expert user, but one who may not have prior experience of structured innovation approaches. The module guides the user.

Benefits to stakeholders:

-        Assess potential of technology

-        Assess novelty in technology

-        Target funding opportunities in sector

-        Assess areas of improvement and technical challenges

The Structured Innovation design tool will be integrated with the other DTOceanPlus design tools and tested with data from real case technology projects and then verified against user requirements.

The Structured Innovation design tool alpha version will be out on 30th April 2020.


-        The main users of the tool will be technology and project developers who want to improve an existing technology or develop a new concept.

-        An ‘expert user’ is someone who is an expert in their field but not necessarily familiar with structured innovation approaches.

-        The validation of the tool will be done by external industrial partners. They will get some training and will then be able to run the tool with their own data and test that the tool works.

-        If a user wants to innovate a particular subsystem, they still need to think within the context of the array. If that data is lacking, the other design deployment tools will be able to provide a default value in order to ensure that the design is always within the context of an array.

-        The tool will be available to the public, but the user will use their own data.


Photo: Marine Power Systems