What are some good analogies about life

How do you find good analogies?

Analogies are the most versatile method for generating changes in perspective. They form the core of the analogy technique, one of the most important idea generation methods. The analogy technique can be easily controlled, for example to produce more obvious or more exotic ideas or to be more simple or more demanding in use. It can be a reliable source of ideas or a risky experiment. For these reasons, it's the most common ideation method we use.

In its classic form, the analogy technique takes place in the following four steps:

  1. Attribute: What is a characteristic of the initial situation?
  2. Analogy: Who or what else has this quality?
  3. Third-party solution: How would he do the job?
  4. Transmission: How could we apply this solution to our situation?

The technology can be based on the task "We are looking for possible uses for a former cinema hall"Can be explained:

  1. Attribute: It is a large, high room
  2. Analogy: A church
  3. Third-party solution: Church services, music rehearsals
  4. Transmission: Rent the cinema hall to religious groups and bands.

The quality of the ideas gained depends directly on the choice of analogy. This in turn depends on the selected attribute. So the question arises as to what makes a good attribute. Our experience shows that good attributes have to characterize the initial situation in a specific way. This can best be illustrated with an example. To do this, we consider a hairdressing salon:

  1. Attribute: It is located in the city center; Analogies: Supermarket, main train station, police station
  2. Attribute: He offers a service; Analogies: Lawyer, building cleaning, car repair
  3. Attribute: There a distinction is made between men and women; Analogies: Doctor, dance teacher, choir director
  4. Attribute: He makes people more beautiful; Analogies: Tailor, fitness trainer, cosmetic surgeon

Attributes 1 and 2 are too general; they lead to very wide-ranging analogies. The result will be very arbitrary ideas; it is almost a random technique. Such good ideas can emerge, but the reject rate will be very large.

Attributes 3 and 4, on the other hand, are much more specific characterizations of a hairdressing salon, and they lead to more useful analogies. The ideas that arise from it are likely to be better and the proportion of useful ideas higher.

Finding good attributes or analogies is part of the scriptwriter's art in an ideas workshop or innovation workshop. It also requires an investment in preparation time, which definitely pays off in the quality of the results.


Compact knowledge brainstorming


about us

Zephram helps its customers to be more successful in innovation. We hold workshops for developing and evaluating ideas, advise on the choice of an innovation strategy and train teams in brainstorming and innovation management. Our customers range from SMEs to DAX 30 corporations, and the project topics range from patents to corporate strategy.

Visit us on our home page or take a look at our seminars!