Today I’m going to share a technique with you that seems almost magical to me every time I use it. It’s the perfect tool for creating either innovative ideas for your (new) business, for gaining new perspectives or for creating interesting art. Let me show you!
You’ve probably heard of association, right? Association basically just means two things are connected – and when you think about one thing, such as a bottle, the thought might lead you over to another thing, such as wine, poison or pirates. Your associations are naturally your very own, as nobody has had the same experiences as you did and therefore will (most of the time) not come to the same idea in their association chain.
Bisociation is a bit similar but more structured. ‘Bi’ meaning ‘two’ specifically regards two words. Let’s take an example: Imagine you get an article you need to create an illustration for and the article is about a complex topic such as ‘love’ or ‘freedom’. For ‘love’ you could just go with the obvious and paint some hearts, but what if you wanted to go further, create something new and exciting?
Now, you take a different word – any word, a random one works best. You could use a random word generator or just take out a dictionary (in case you still have one). Your word could be any noun, like carpet, strength, or frog. The technique works best, I think, when the word is not too close to the one you are planning on illustrating.
Then you write down 10 things about this word. Let’s use the word “frog”.
Here we go:
Don’t think too much about them at this point, just jot them down! It might be difficult at first but try to have an open mind and let the associations flow. 🙂
Here’s the magic!
Go down your list and connect each word with the one you want to illustrate. For example, what do you think of, when you think of both “love” (or “freedom”) and “green”?
Maybe that green reminds you of flowers – what about a couple, both surprising the other with flowers as a symbol of their love? Or “freedom” and “green” – maybe this reminds you of how free you once felt standing on top of the cliffs in Ireland, the green country?
You already have two great ideas to illustrate “love” or “freedom”!
Write them down and go on to the next phrase of your list – I guarantee you, by the end you will have some fantastic ideas, much more than just from brainstorming as you are giving your brain something to work with in the first place. Here are some more ideas I got from that liste for love:
love & “tells you the weather” – happy raincloud and happy sun in love with each other
freedom & “jumps” – someone jumps over hurdles (maybe written words) that symbolize the thing they have to free themselves from
love & “lays eggs” – what about a mother hen with her chicks? Or a fish, caring for her babies? Sure, this is a different type of love, but would you have thought of it before?
Overall, this technique feels very refreshing to me. It frees me of my already-thought paths and opens up so many new possibilities. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to give yourself the space to think without restrictions, to let your brain do the work. And secondly to really take the time to come up with 10 words/phrases for your random work. It may seem like hard work in the beginning, but I assure you – it is absolutely worth it!
The results can be used both for business purposes by combining your startup idea with a random word or for illustrative purposes as shown in the example above.
This is my technique for (almost) instant creativity – what’s yours? I’d love to hear about how you come up with ideas 🙂