Workshop Exercises: Frame, Ideate

Forced Analogy

Compare your current situation to an unrelated one

Illustration of Forced Analogy
Run a Forced Analogy play

Timing: Discovery

Run time
30-45 minutes

Group size

Why: Break conventional thinking patterns by making connections with unrelated concepts

When: Ideal when facing complex problems that need fresh perspectives or creative solutions

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

Reserve your deck!

Instructions for running this play

  1. Find random objects. Ask participants to come up with a random and unrelated object (person, place, thing, or idea). Write the object names on individual sticky notes.
  2. Extract their qualities or attributes and write them on index cards:
    • An airplane flies through the air, along predefined routes, and has an autopilot feature
    • An oak tree has deep roots with wide branching structures and can live from a very small seed.
  3. Shuffle the cards and distribute them randomly
  4. Develop analogies. Use the cards to develop analogies to the problem or issues at hand:
    1. How is this problem similar to [random object]?
    2. How would I solve this problem with [random object]?

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: Hunt for objects

Spark energy and randomness into the exercise by letting participants hunt for random physical objects in their immediate surroundings. “You have 5 seconds to find an object that is BLUE!”

Tip: Group analogy

You can also work through one analogy as a group: “How would we use a clothing clip to solve our data import problem?”

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