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  • Writer's pictureJohannes Mutzke

Tired of Lame Ideas? Here’s a Powerful Way to Trigger the Spark!

A company in the automotive sector getting inspired by…the humane society?…a beauty salon?…a chiropractor? You must be kidding!

No, not kidding…that’s precisely what happened in a series of client workshops we recently conducted. The team was in search of something different…not the “same old” ideas, not “me-too industry best practices” (aka benchmarking), but something out of the box — something really game-changing that would differentiate them in their market.

We first clarified specific areas of opportunity and capabilities we’d need to truly “change the game” — examples: customer-care, services bundling, turn-key solutions, use of data/analytics…

Then we went to places we’d seen these capabilities “in real life” (like the chiropractor) and gathered inspiration — asking questions, experiencing, feeling, watching, listening.

When we got back to brainstorming ideas, the results were transformative. Not only did we have sharper and more practical ideas (seeing real life helps a lot!), they were also clearly differentiated (“game-changing”)…i.e. very different from what we would have gotten had we stayed confined to the paradigms of their own industry.

This technique is known as “analogous inspiration”, and is one of the most powerful approaches you can use to generate new ideas. Why is it so effective? Two main reasons – first, it makes your brain “jump the tracks” from its normal pattern of thinking (a core prerequisite for creativity). Second, analogous inspiration frees you from “the blindness of your own context” (that gets you tangled in current constraints) and opens up paradigm-shifting ways of thinking as you see potential “game-changers” much more clearly in a completely different context.

So next time you want to spark your team’s creativity and take a truly different perspective, consider igniting the flame with analogous inspiration!

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