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The Innovator's Toolkit: 50+ Techniques for Predictable and Sustainable Organic Growth, 2nd Edition by Neil DeCarlo, Philip Samuel, David Silverstein

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Technique 23

Random Stimulus

Use an unrelated picture or word to spawn new ideas.

 

During random stimulus, participants use free association in connection with an arbitrary word or image to generate new ideas. For example, looking at a picture of a racecar could bring to mind a racetrack, which in turn could help you think of a new way to desalinate water.

Techniques like random stimulus initially might seem too disconnected in the way they lead to new ideas, but this disconnection from one's mental inertia is exactly what is needed. Humans naturally establish logic patterns as they process information over time, so creative thinking actually becomes unnatural. The only way to spark it is to move away from these patterns, and using random stimulus is one way to do that.

A random stimulus can be any kind of signal—a word or image, even a sound or smell—that forces you to move your thoughts to a new place outside of your current focus and associations.

Steps

Scenario: Developing countries are increasing disposable income in more layers of society, and car companies are beginning to target this with new automobile offerings. Many of these offerings, such as the Tata Nano and the reintroduction of the Nissan Datsun brand, are designed for drivers with lower income levels. All of these new drivers are creating another opportunity in the marketplace—the need for car insurance.

1. Identify Jobs to be Done (JTBD) and Outcome Expectations

As a group, agree on the JTBD (see Technique ...

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