UccelloTM Process as a tool for the implementation of a New Food Product Development
Most of the time we are stuck at the old ways of doing things because we think it is the only way forward or we lack the ability to be creative. Being creative means different thing to different people. For most people you have to do something extra ordinary to be creative for others it is a way of life. Being creative has to do with bringing into existence a new combination of elements that did not previously exist and this description applies to any human product. As I am typing this document using the key board and watch the page increase with ideas, I am being creative. Essentially as you horn your problem solving skills you are being creative. The problem is the most people do not set out to be creative. Being creative is something you can learn, just as you can learn to drive a car. It is a skill.
The Uccello Process for Non Stop Creativity
The Uccello Process for Non Stop (McLeod and Thompson, 1997) is made of eight steps leading to a creative process. These steps are summarised below:
McLeod and Thompson were of the opinion that the Uccello Process is divided into eight steps. They pointed out that you could operate in any of the steps in any order during the creative process. However, made it clear that step 1 is very critical since you have to be clear in your mind the idea you want to bring to birth. For example, ‘I want to develop a new recipe for cooking potato.' This is sort of the objective you want to achieve. It has to be novel and of value. This will then lead to the second step, where you look for alternatives. Here you have to challenge your preconceptions, collect information, and look at things with a fresh eye. This will lead you to the next stage (3), where you have to experiment on your thinking to ‘spark' new possibilities. In this respect you will consciously use triggers and techniques to play with our thinking to break out of programmed pathways and connections that restrict the way we think and limit our ability to be creative. This is the idea behind lateral thinking - the ability to change ideas and perception (DeBono ) or ‘thinking out of the box.' Some of the techniques that could be used are redefining, opposites, what's not there, random input, and metaphors. The next stage is incubation of your idea which could be used for idea generation as well as a tool in the Uccello Process. In step 5, new idea emerges and combination of your ideas with collected ideas and information is used to create unique perspectives. The idea is evaluated for it's worth (7) and subsequently implemented (8). The process is repeated.
How can I use the Uccello Process for New Product Development?
I have to write my statement which stipulates clearly what I want to achieve. I want to develop and implement a new way for cooking potato.
Usually potato is cooked, mashed, fried (chipped or slices), roasted. Is there a new way to present this product to add value to it and make it more interesting? Can I use this product in a different form, media, setting - for example, taking advantage of different processing regimes? Here, ‘What if?', statements are valuable. You have to allow your creative juices to flow.
What methods or procedure can I use to transform potato? Can I mash it, mix it with other ingredients to change its form? Can I take advantage of different methods of cooking to change the product? Can I bring an idea from a different product to bring it to this product? Can I add other ingredients to improve the nutritional properties, texture and or flavour? These questions will open a world of possibilities and provide you with options to which to test your idea. Assuming I had to boil the potato and mash. What if? I add some self raising flour to the mash so as to create dough of medium to firm consistency and non-sticking. Imagine I had to flatten the dough using a roller on a floured board. According to Edward De Bono (19), speculation is a powerful tool for changing ideas, for forming new ideas and for creativity in general.
Now imagine I had to roll the mashed potato and flour mix and roll it in a floured top; and add some ham slices to the paste and roll it up. Do I have to bake it or fry it in order to cook the product? What if I had to glaze the dough with egg white in improve the consistency after cooking- baking or frying as the case may be?
I then have to incubate the ideas from foregoing. This is the moment to think on the progress been made so far. At this stage you have to think reflectively on the ideas and how to move it forward which could result in new ideas emerging.
At this stage a new idea emerge, which is due to incubation of your ideas in stage 4 above. For example, say that in stage 3, you were not clear whether to bake of fry the product and you resolved that you had to fry it during the incubation process in step 4. Now you have decided to fry the product it is clear that you have that you have combined your ideas to create unique perspective about the product. Obviously, you have collected information from existing products to move your thinking forward.
This stage is concerned with combining your ideas with collected ideas and information to create a unique perspective. |In this stance the new product has been developed based on combination of different ideas and information to form a new perspective. Hence the next stage (7), which is the evaluation of the idea.
How do you evaluate you idea? You could adopt the PMI framework or model described by Edward De Bono ((), which is simply asking: What is positive, minus or interesting thing about your idea? In the case of this new potato product, there has been an added value in terms of the nutritional properties compared to the original product. The new product has created variety in the way the raw material is utilised as well as prolonging the shelf life of the raw material. For example, the new product could be kept in the freezer and warmed in a microwave when needed. There is nothing minus about the product; however some people due to their diet requirements may not like the new combinations of ingredients. The interesting about the new product is the variety of ways it could be used as a food product- as snack or a complete meal when used in combination with other foods. This will result in the implementation of the idea.
This is the stage to bring to birth the ideas. Thinking without action is useless. Hence you need to implement your idea. Remember that the aim of this article is to use the Uccello process as a tool for new product development. The implementation stage is an action stage which will allow us to experiment our thinking. The stages in the production of the new potato product are as follows:
1 Potato is boiled until soft and mashed to a fine paste.
2 Add plain flour to the potato mash mix using your fingers or a food mixers as the case might be. Continue to mix to get dough of firm consistency.
3 Flatten the dough with a roller on a floured surface so as not to allow the dough to stick to the surface. You might roll them to about 2mm thick and even.
4 Add ham slices or any meat product you require to the flat dough (potato and flour mix) and roll. Cut to size.
5. Meanwhile, brush the egg white you had separated mixed with semi-skimmed milk over the cut dough to glaze it prior to frying. Be careful not to soak the dough with the mixture; (egg white / semi-skimmed milk mix).
6 Fry the glazed dough in a deep fryer set at 200oC until golden brown.
7. Remove the products to allow cool a tray. Enjoy the product as snack or as an addition to main meal.
This article has described the Uccello process as a tool for non- stop creativity and utilize it to create new product from mashed potato. Basically, the method is a framework which allows you to organize your thinking from the conceptualization of an idea to implementation. It also enables you to focus on each idea during the process as well the flexibility to operate at any stage during the process.