Heuristic Ideation Technique

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Heuristic ideation technique (HIT) is an alternative variation to e.g., Attribute Listing, Morphological Analysis, Listing, developed by Edward Tauber and described by Arthur VanGundy in Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, for initial developments (although it could be used in other areas). The procedure is as follows:

  • Choose two items of interest that already exist, e.g. if I sell novelty goods, I might select a particular china mug with a floral decoration on it, and a particular novelty greetings card.
  • Make a list of each component, e.g. the components of the mug may include: handle, square shape, coloured china, floral decoration, coffee sized, etc. The cards components might include: glitter decoration, poetic message, can be sent by post, etc.
  • Construct a matrix, where the rows list the components of the one product the columns list the components of the other, and each cell corresponds to a combination of one element from each product.

&nbsp Card Glitter decoration Poetic message Sent by post
Mug Mug, card Mug, glitter decoration Mug, poetic message Mug, sent by post
Floral design Floral design, card Floral design, glitter decoration Floral design, poetic message Floral design, sent by post
Coloured design Coloured design, card Coloured design, glitter decoration Coloured design, poetic message Coloured design, sent by post
Coffee sized Coffee sized, card Coffee sized, glitter decoration Coffee sized, poetic message Coffee sized, sent by post
Square shape Square shape, card Square shape, glitter decoration Square shape, poetic message Square shape, sent by post
  • Cross out for elimination any cells that correspond to existing products, e.g. ‘floral design, sent by post’.
  • Identify any cells that have market potential as they stand e.g. ‘coffee sized mug, can be sent by post’, ideal for gift packaged product.
  • Looking at the table from another angle, try to identify any cells that look creatively thought provoking, but in need every more work.
  • Develop the highlighted cells into workable ideas.
  • HIT comes from its use of the 3 ‘rules of thumb’:
    • That new ideas are usually combinations of elements of existing ideas;
    • That the core of many new product ideas can often be captured by a two-element combination;
    • That combination of dissimilar items (‘chalk/cheese’) work better than similar items (‘chalk/limestone’).