Innovating Up and Down

Elevator Innovation 1What is the first thing you do when you step into an elevator? For most people: push the button of the floor you are going to. Not so with a new breed of elevators manufactured by Schindler North America. These elevators have the buttons on the outside, not inside. The buttons for selecting your floor are on each floor. Instead of just pushing a single up or down button to hail an elevator, you push the button for the floor you want as though you were inside.

The Division Template is the culprit here. In this innovation sighting, the elevator floor button panel was divided out and placed back into the system…outside the elevator cab. Very novel, useful, and surprising. To use Division, make a list of the components, then divide out a component. Divide functionally or physically and place it back somewhere in the system. Use Function Follows Form to identify potential benefits, feasibility, challenges, and adaptations.

The benefit is better elevator customer service. Elevator cars operate more efficiently which means you get to the right floor faster. How? By selecting your floor sooner (while waiting for the elevator to arrive) the elevator’s computer has more timely input about peoples’ destinations. It can calculate the optimal pattern of pickups and dropoffs, then execute it faster than traditional elevators. Here is how this new elevator, called the Miconic 10, operates:

Elevator Innovation 2“Miconic 10 advanced software drives a powerful logic program that systematically rationalizes elevator traffic flow in a building. It employs a sophisticated algorithm to manage the complexities of traffic patterns as they change throughout the day and to group passengers together with the same departure and/or destination floors.

With any conventional control, passengers can only tell the elevator system that they want to travel either ‘Up’ or ‘Down’. Likewise, everyone tries to get into the first car that arrives, often causing overcrowding, then scrambling to push the buttons once inside the car. As a result, the car will probably stop at every floor on the way up.

Elevator Innovation 3With Miconic 10, you can register you destination even before you reach the elevator lobby. The system tells you immediately which car to go to. It groups passengers together by destination to minimize the number of stops. It makes sure that cars can’t become overcrowded. Once inside the elevator, your destination floor is confirmed to you. You don’t need to press any more buttons (special service buttons are, of course, provided). You receive confirmation of your destination floor upon arrival.”

The first elevator was built by Archimedes probably in 236 B.C. It has come a long way since then.

Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting 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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