Combining unrelated ideas is a central core in creative thinking. It’s a way to develop ideas, allowed in many formats, try them out and choose the one that fits you the best!
Combining unrelated ideas often doubles or triples the value, or the possibilities of an idea.
Start with picking either two random words from the list below (or you could also pick them from a magazine, a text or stuff you’re randomly exposed to). Start by examine the two words you’ve picked narrowly, think about both of them separately, possibly even look them up at Wikipedia, what’s the function of the different words, what can they be used for and what are they.
Once the picture is clear: start combining! Think about how both things can relate to each other. As an example, how could skis be used on Route 66? Surely something like roller skis pops up as an idea, but continue combining, how could skis and Route 66 add up to something creating value together? Maybe there could be a contest on roller skis at Route 66? And so on.
A lot of ideas don’t have an obvious immediate application, but for someone a bit more specialized within a certain field there could be obvious other connections. And that’s the whole beauty with the exercise, we all combine different ideas depending on who we are and what we know of. So, also use this as an opportunity where you can invite someone with a completely different knowledge field to do the exercise with you!
List of words to combine:
Drums, Candy, Nose, Burp, Savanna, Mozzarella, Circus, Cow, NASA, Screw driver, Ballet, Norway, Bicycle, Steel, Sweat, Cooperation, Winning, Camera, Wi-fi, Route 66, Coffee, Wish, Gym, Love, Skis etc.
This exercise can be done individually or in group. And it could also benefit from starting with ideas you already have. If so then start with these and add words either randomly or from a list, or by asking yourself the questions below in order to add elements that can be useful to combine.
- What can be combined?
- Can purposes be combined?
- How can a combination be packaged?
- How can possible usabilities be multiplied?
- Could there be a blend? A collection?
- What other units can you think of combining? New materials to combine? An emotion or a color to mix in?
- Try out the exercise both by writing and painting the things you think about.
- Try out the exercise alone and together with someone else, and take the opportunity to ask someone with experience of another field than yours.
- Take it to seriously, have fun and think out of the box while exercising.
- Think to much about what’s possible or not.
- How was it?
- Did you feel that this was valuable for your work? In what way?