|A Phone in a Small Tree (all rights reserved)|
Audience: People looking for a new perspective on a challenge or opportunity.
Suggested Time: 5-20 minutes.
Forced Analogy is a method of encouraging people to see a problem differently. The method involves comparing and contrasting a problem or a product or a service or a situation with something completely different.
A Forced Analogy process I use with undergraduate students is to encourage the students to think of a mobile phone as a boat, and then as a tree. I ask them what ideas a phone manufacturer like Nokia could draw from these analogies.
The boat analogy has resulted in:
- How can we waterproof the phone?
- Could we use timber in the construction? Or fibreglass?
- The white iPhone may be more nautical than the black one.
- Would the phone float or sink if it was waterproof?
- How can we learn to compact things? (A small boat's galley is like a shrunken kitchen.)
- Again, the potential to construct in timber.
- Could the phone network be drawn as a tree? What represents the roots hidden underground?
- Tree branches are irregular for easy grasping or gripping.
- Could phones be organic?
- Can photosynthesis replace or supplement battery power?
- Trees are often suited to their environment. (Unfinished idea...)
- Trees like to grow together. (Unfinished idea...)
(I'd love you to tell me about some ideas you identified in the Comments.)