Innovation methods: Analogy method

In the field of innovation, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. With the help of the analogy method you can quickly derive your own ideas from related objects and be inspired. A comparison of the process or product to be optimized with an already successful or completed project takes place.

Analogies to a university could be for example:

  • Theatre, airport, conference centre. (Organizations that have large halls.)
  • School, dance school, flight simulator. (Places where people learn.)
  • Fiscal Office, City Hall, Police. (Institutions of the public service.)
  • Company, association, church. (Employer)
  • Lab, Archive, South Pole. (Places where research is carried out.)


Procedure for the analogy method

To derive a meaning from these objects of comparison, the next step is to derive categories that you want to look at more closely. Another example: A company asks itself the question “How can our employee canteen be embellished?

  1. Select feature: “There are many seating options in our canteen”
  2. Other owners: “In a cinema there are also many seats”
  3. Holder’s view: “People like to sit there in comfortable cinema chairs”
  4. Transmission to problem: “One could equip the canteen with comfortably upholstered chairs to make the stay more pleasant”


These are only the first methods to get an overview of the individual possibilities. A direct transfer of the observations from the analogies is rarely possible. The innovator therefore makes adjustments and takes individual influences and peculiarities into account.

With the analogy method a first overview of the possibilities can be generated, which can be very helpful later in the ideation process.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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