USIT at the Ford Motor Company


In 1995 I introduced structured-problem solving into Ford Motor Company a modified version of the original SIT and ASIT, developed by Dr. R. Horowitz and his colleagues. The work was called systematic inventive thinking (SIT), it stressed invention, and was highly popular with students.


This work began in the Electronics Division of Ford Motor Company and was soon moved to the Research Laboratories where I was manager of the Physics Department. It was deemed that the most valuable aspect of SIT for Ford was not its use for invention but its use in routine day-to-day engineering design-type problems. With that goal in mind structured inventive thinking began to be developed (SIT).


Invention was not omitted but was given less emphasis in favor of providing technologists with an effective tool that could be used even on mundane problems. Unified structured inventive thinking sprang from this work and was published as a textbook with Ford permission.


Three-day courses were offered monthly. Graduates brought company problems to 1 hour, twice weekly, follow-up training sessions. Attendees came from various divisions of the company and from all levels of engineering (including quality control) and research up to the vice president level. Courses were taught in Ford engineering facilities in the US, Europe, and Australia. A four-person, full-time USIT team was formed and charged to apply USIT to corporate problems worldwide.