What is It
A method to capture analogous and inspirational examples of others solving a similar problem.
Why We Do It
By looking inside and outside of the industry, we identify themes that represent interesting experiences attempting to solve for a human need similar to the one we’re solving for.
Looking In, Out and Around also serves as a great way to surface what the group likes / doesn’t like (This, Not That) and helps focus (or inspire) the solutions we invent.
How to Do It
- Review and clarify the problem we’re trying to solve.
- In preparation for a creation session, go out into the world and do some analogous research.
- Think about your analogous research in three different areas; IN (competitors directly in your market), OUT (secondary competitors that may not be obvious), and AROUND (people solving similar problems in entirely different industries, categories or markets).
- Identify how others are solving the problem and why you think it’s interesting.
- Put together a visual representation that clearly demonstrates what they’re doing.
- Curate your analogous inspiration into a cohesive presentation that can be used to facilitate a brainstorming session and spark great conversation.
- Present each analog to a cross-fuctional group, pause and let the group reflect on what they liked and didn’t (capture their feedback in a format that you can see throughout the creative process).
- Continually draw on these analogs as thought starters for how you might solve the problem – asking yourself “what if we did this like they did?”
Why it Works
People are often stuck thinking about their own industry. Additionally, they’re usually focused on their own customers, their own products and their own goals.
This method gets people thinking differently about the problems they’re solving, who their competition really is and how high the bar has been set (by the best experiences on the planet) — not just core competitors.
- Challenge yourself to find interesting analogs – look for examples that intentionally get you thinking differently and are NOT only your core competitors
- Offer beautiful and engaging images to describe the specific brands or products being used (images are almost always better than words at sparking creative thinking).
- Look for proven examples, draw from solutions that have actually solved the problem, not just something you think is cool today.
- Intentionally invite people from throughout the organization to your creation sessions, bringing unique and diverse perspective to the table (you never know where a great idea will come from).