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Analogous Inspiration brainstorm

Yesterday we brainstormed some examples of brands, businesses, movements and campaigns that have responded to some of the core elements to our brief different ways.

This is what we call Analogous Research. It involves viewing your challenge from a ‘higher level’ as a series of elements that need tackling, then looking wide to find examples (usually from outside of the category) of those who have approached similar problems in novel or inspiring ways. Analogous research can be done in person to gain empathy and expose new ways of thinking, or just through simple desk research.

At IDEO it’s one of our favourite methods - usually helps us get deeply inspired for a small commitment of time and effort. As we work across lots of categories, brainstorms are a great place to cross-pollinate knowledge and share the smart solutions we’ve seen out there.

Here are some of the ‘core’ parts of our challenge we brainstormed around:

1. Examples of saying ‘no’ well

  • Not being allowed onto a fairground ride as a child (hard to argue with, you’re either tall enough or not)
  • Hotels which are fully booked but provide you with an ‘upgrade’, often which you know isn’t one, but they’re providing an alternative and marketing it as a ‘treat’
  • Parenting tips - from explaining the ‘why not?’ in simple terms, to ensuring that it’s not always a ‘no’ that kids hear, so they learn these decisions are fair and rational
Kids rides often use characters smartly to 'be the impartial bad guy' on parents behalf

These made us think:

  • HMW help providers stand firm and feel their decision is more concrete? I.e. it is not up for discussion?
  • HMW position alternatives as just as desirable or even more so?
  • HMW help patients see that we have their interests at heart - we won’t always say no?

2. Communicating the abstract/complex in a simple way

  • Pregnancy apps that only tell you the information you need to know at the right time, to avoid overwhelming you - at a time when everything is new and scary
  • Tide tool - simplifying notoriously complex information about tides for use by different people fisherman, swimmers, etc
  • Taste flavour wheel - a single comprehensive tool, that’s usable by people across the food and drink industry to talk about flavour with a common language
Tide Times app simplifies a confusing system

These made us think:

  • HMW help patients understand the AMR issue one step at a time? Starting with what’s relevant to show them now - regarding their symptoms?
  • HMW find a way to talk about AMR that’s so simple and universal, it becomes the standard?

3. Making users feel personally looked after

  • Luxury tailors or personal shoppers - tell you an item is not your style, and provide better options for you
  • Restaurant servers who check in on you during a fancy meal / car hire service who call you to check the car is ok
Personal shoppers look at your style, lifestyle and size to make suggestions that feel tailored. They also say 'no' well

These made us think:

  • HMW leave you feeling you’ve had a better service because of the intervention/expertise rather than in spite of it?
  • HMW put the time after the interaction to good use? Show we care through checking in?

What did we miss? Any cool examples you've seen out in the world we should add into the mix? Let us know