If someone just creates a new color of candle, we would not call this innovative. But how could we quantify our sense of what is innovative and what is not?
In contrast, the self-snuffing candle uses the fact that candles lose weight when they burn (an overlooked feature) and the fact that candles do not normally move (an overlooked feature). How could we quantify the innovativeness of this design?
The graph below consists of 32 types of features on the x-axis that any object might possess: color, shape, size, material make-up, and many more. Subjects listed all the features and associations that they could for a candle and we then categorized the features they listed according to the 32 categories.
As you can see, some features like color (#5), material make-up (#2), shape (#3), size (#4) , and others are commonly noticed. Other features are overlooked such as weight (#9) and motion (#26).