Thinking Technique – I wander as lonely as a … Cloud?

Categories: Innovation Insights


One of my mentors, Dr Charlie Prather of Bottom Line Innovation taught me a compelling thinking technique: random word prompts (my words, not his). The way I understood it (and I do have a bad memory for taught things), is that if you are trying to work on a difficult problem, you can kick-start more original thinking by coming up with a word (say, cloud – I am looking out the window), and coming up with a list of things that describe the cloud (e.g. Fluffy, in the sky, lots of different types, water vapor, sign of potential rain, etc). Then ‘abstract’ from these things some underlying thought or concept (e.g. Rain means it changes state – from fluffy to something else, up in the sky means that it is highly visible, etc). Then apply these abstractions back to your original problem. Again, no promises for breakthroughs, but it is a handy way of coming up with some more original insights. Worth a go!

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