Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Victor E. Frankl (1905–1992)
Founder of Logotherapy, psychiatrist and holocaust survivor

The Stimulus Word Analysis is a creativity technique, which is most suitable for new ideas and words. However, it can also be applied to product development or other.

Process of Stimulus Word Analysis

This is a stimulating approach to find absolute new ways of problem solving. You need just paper and markers (or pens) and follow these four steps:

  • Define the challenge as precisely as possible. For example: ‘What would be a liberal solution to improve the life of street vendors?’
  • Take five words at random! Let’s say: squirrel, bicycle, chestnut, teapot, computer.
  • Analyse each word only in reference to itself! What are its characteristics (positive and negative)? For example, a squirrel collects food, stores it, is quick, looks cute and everybody likes it etc. A bicycle is a piece of sporting equipment, can be stolen easily, keeps the user fit etc.
  • Now, build a connection between your stimulus word and its characteristics with your challenge! How can the qualities of a squirrel (being quick, cute, building up a stock etc.) contribute to solve your challenge?

The advantage is that it is almost guaranteed to find new approaches. Everybody is involved and it can be real fun. Nonetheless, you might need quite some time and sometimes it’s hard to find connections.

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