Attribute Listing

Notes from "Creating Workforce Innovation" by Michael Morgan - published by Business and Professional Pubolshing 1993

Attribute listing is a great technique for ensuring all possible aspects of a problem have been examined. Attribute listing is breaking the problem down into smaller and smaller bits and seeing what you discover when you do.

Let's say you are in the business of making torches. You are under pressure from your competition and need to improve the quality of your product. By breaking the torch down into its component parts - casing, switch, battery, bulb and the weight - the attributes of each one - you can develop a list of ideas to improve each one.

Attribute Listing - Improving a torch
FeatureAttributeIdeas
CasingPlasticMetal
SwitchOn/OffOn/Off low beam
BatteryPowerRechargable
BulbBlassPlastic
WeightHeavyLight

Attribute listing is a very useful technique for quality improvement of complicated products, procedures for services. It is a good technique to use in conjunction with some other creative techniques, especially idea-generating ones like brainstorming. This allows you to focus on one specific part of a product or process before generating a whole lot of ideas.


A related technique is that of morphological analysis.
Last updated: 17th October 1996