Notes from "Creating Workforce Innovation" by Michael Morgan – published by Business and Professional Publishing
Attribute listing is a great technique for ensuring all possible aspects of a problem have been examined. Attribute listing is breaking the problem down into smaller and smaller bits and seeing what you discover when you do.
Let's say you are in the business of making flashlights. You are under pressure from your competition and need to improve the quality of your product. By breaking the flashlight down into its component parts – casing, switch, battery, bulb and the weight – the attributes of each one – you can develop a list of ideas to improve each one.
Attribute Listing – Improving a flashlight
Attribute listing is a very useful technique for quality improvement of complicated products, procedures for services. It is a good technique to use in conjunction with some other creative techniques, especially idea-generating ones like brainstorming. This allows you to focus on one specific part of a product or process before generating a whole lot of ideas.