Morphological Forced Connections

A to Z of
Creativity Techniques
Morphological Analysis
Multiple Redefinition

The general use of a matrix in Creativity and Innovation is often known as a"Morphological" method. One method of attribute listing is contained in The Universal Traveler which authors Koberg and Bagnall call "Morphological Forced Connections". They give the following rules for their "foolproof invention-finding scheme" along with an example showing how their scheme works. Here it is:

  1. List the attributes of the situation.
  2. Below each attribute, place as many alternates as you can think of
  3. When completed, make many random runs through the alternates, picking up a different one from each column and assembling the combinations into entirely new forms of your original subject.

After all, inventions are often new ways of combining old bits and pieces.

Shape / Cylinder Material Cap Ink Source
Faceted Metal Attached Cap No Cartridge
Square Glass No Cap Permanent
Beaded Wood Retracts Paper Cartridge
Sculptured Paper Cleaning Cap Cartridge made of ink

Example Invention: An environmental Cube Pen; one corner writes, leaving six faces for ads, calendars, photos, etc. using only wood and paper...