Forced Connections

Forced Connections are incredibly prevalent in most people’s problem-solving processes, whether they’re aware of the fact or not. The tool is based on the fact that it is often easier to create interesting and unusual ideas if you connect the problem with random objects. Using Forced Connections is simple: all that is needed are some things to look at that are unrelated to the challenge, and the ability to let go of judgment.

Ideal Time

4-5 minutes per visual prompt; try to keep this activity within 20 minutes.

Set up

  • Visual prompts unrelated to the challenge
  • A place to write ideas (notebook, Post-it® notes, Google Doc) and something to write with

Instructions

  1. Make sure everyone taking part in the Forced Connections ideation session is thinking about the guidelines for divergent thinking
    1. delay your judgment
    2. look for wild and unusual ideas
    3. come up with as many ideas as you can
    4. build on other people’s ideas
  2. Show the first visual prompt and ask, “With the challenge in mind, what does this make you think of?”
  3. Encourage participants to write down every idea, question, or thought that enters their heads in response to these questions
  4. Collect responses

Watchouts

  1. Make sure to introduce and encourage the guidelines for divergent thinking:
    1. delay your judgment
    2. look for wild and unusual ideas
    3. come up with as many ideas as you can
    4. build on other people’s ideas
  2. Forced Connections is a more advanced tool, and in order to make it work, judgment must be deferred. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for the ideas to start flowing.

Last updated byzachstapletonjones