The Closed World principle dictates that when innovating and solving a problem, we should strive to use only elements that exist in the system or its environment.

Each product may have any number of closed worlds in which it “lives” at different stages of its existence, but when working with the tools, it is important to remain focused on one world at a time. Nonetheless, the definition of a closed world is not absolute. There are degrees of “how closed” the world should be, depending on practical considerations. At times, it is useful to use only elements of the product itself, but often the “world” is enlarged to include additional elements. As an example, cars “live” in several worlds: manufacturing, distribution, showrooms, parking, the city, the country, and more. Each world brings a different cluster of external components – things that are either physically or conceptually close to a car.

The Closed World principle inserts a constraint into our thinking process, thus focusing
our thinking better.

The process of thinking within the Closed World negates the intuitive manner of
thinking “outside the box” in order to achieve innovation, thus leading towards ideas
that otherwise would not ordinarily surface.

Utilization of existing resources is oftentimes more efficient, immediate and less costly
than importing resources from an external source.


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