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Welcome to the Analogy tutorial

This web page is a tutorial on just one part of a free training web site on brainstorming.

How to use the Analogy technique

The greatest thing by far, is to be a master of the metaphor - Aristotle

In this section of brainstorming training you use an analogy or metaphor of your own situation to find out how similar probortunities are solved in other fields.

Analogies are very good for discovering things you had not realized about your own probortunity situation and thus enable you to develop solutions based upon them.

The first step is to make up an analogy:

  • What does your situation or your probortunity remind you of?
  • What other areas of life/work experience similar situations?
  • Who does similar things but not in your area of expertise?

Often an analogy will include the words "... is like ..."

Examples could be:

  • Running a business is like managing a theatre production
  • Changing a tyre on a car is like putting your shoes on (PS tyre = tire using US spelling)
  • Selling to our customers is like being a second-hand car salesman

Another way is to force an analogy and create something which you will make the analogy to.

Examples could be:

  • The packaging is like an egg
  • Manufacturing a toy doll is like driving a tank
  • Advertising to customers is like cooking a meal

Now use the analogy as a stimulus and gather bridging ideas from it. These ideas could be an aspect of the analogy, or a solution or process which it uses either to work well or to solve a similar probortunity. You then see how you can apply this new idea in your own situation.

Completed examples might be:

Running a business is like managing a theatre production.

A theatre production is split into two halves. Do we need to split our sales team into two sections: pre-sales and after-sales?

Changing a tyre on a car is like putting your shoes on.

You re-tie your shoelaces when you feel they are loose. Can we incorporate a sensor in the car wheel which will alert the driver if a wheel is loose?

Selling to our customers is like being a second-hand car salesman.

Second-hand car salesmen offer trade-in prices for old cars. Should we offer a trade-in for old goods or maybe give a discount if they change from another brand?

The packaging is like an egg.

The chick in the egg slowly drains the white of the egg as it grows. Can we have a device on the packaging that visually shows how long before its sell-by-date by changing colour with time?

Manufacturing a toy doll is like driving a tank.

Tanks fire shells out of their cannons. Can we design a robot to shoot the head on so hard that it cannot come off again in the child's hands?

Advertising to customers is like cooking a meal.

People anticipate food more if they can smell something nice. Can we put a smell (or other distinctive feeling) on our product which serves no purpose except to recognize the upcoming excitement?

Please try this technique for yourself and you will certainly improve at coming up with new ideas. Create your own analogies or use a random word and use that as the analogy.

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