The future of computer-aided innovation
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A new category of tools known as CAI (computer-aided innovation) is an emerging domain in the array of computer-aided technologies. CAI has been growing as a response to greater industry demands for reliability in new products. Some initial CAI ideas and concepts focused on assisting product designers in the early stage of the design process, but now a more comprehensive vision conceives CAI systems as beginning at the fuzzy front end of perceiving business opportunities and customer demands, then continuing during the creative stage in developing inventions and, further on, providing help up to the point of turning inventions into successful innovations in the marketplace. CAI methods and tools are partially inspired by Innovation Theories, such as TRIZ, QFD (Quality Function Development), Axiomatic Design, Synectics, General Theory of Innovation, Mind Mapping, Brain Storming, Lateral Thinking, and Kansei Engineering, among others. The goal of these new CAI tools under development is to assist innovators, inventors, designers, process developers and managers in their creative performance, with the expectation of changes in paradigms through the use of this new category of software tools. CAI, therefore, stands out as a departure from the usual trends. The latest approaches are presented and analyzed to derive conclusions regarding the present status and the future of these emerging tools. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.