When teams (particularly intact teams) struggle to innovate it’s often because they neglect to look outside their organization for inspiration. Unlike competitive research, analogies push teams to consider radically different industries and offerings to apply a fresh perspective on a familiar challenge.
How to use analogies
Identify and explore specific aspects of your design challenge in new ways!
Gather a team to talk about what aspects of your challenge you’d like to explore further. For example, if you’re designing for hospital technicians, and you’re interested in understanding extreme time pressures or high stakes decisions, brainstorm spaces that are tangential to the design challenge that share enough attributes where there may be insight cross-over.
For the hospital challenge you might explore extreme time pressures at an airport, or for high stakes decisions, a police training academy or fire station. Observe and interview people in these analogous locations.
Make an analogous inspiration board.
Saturate a space with photos and quotes from your analogous space; this can help the team share inspiration, or bring in the analogous insight later in the process.
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