Select objects at random. You can select any objects, objects at home, objects at work, or objects you might find walking down the street. Or you can imagine you are in a technologically-oriented science museum, walking through the Smithsonian Institute, or browsing in an electronic store and make a list of objects that you would likely see. Make two lists of  objects each on the left and right sides of the paper.(See example below). Pick one from the left and combine it with one on the right. When you find a promising new combination, refine and elaborate it into a new invention.









See how you do before reading further.









               ∙       Combining bagel with slicer yields a bagel slicer with plastic sides designed to hold the bagel and prevent rotation when slicing.

               ∙       Bathtub and hammock combines into a baby tub with a simple hammock in the  tub with a headrest to hold the baby’s head securely, leaving the parent’s hands free to do the washing.

               ∙       Sunglasses and windows combine to form the idea of tinted house windows,  like tinted sunglasses,  designed to change colors with ultraviolet light to help keep the house cool.

               ∙       Suntan lotion and insect repellent combines to form a new product— one lotion that protects against both the sun and insects.

And the best example is combining a toothbrush with a wristwatch. The solution is , is a cordless, battery-free “electric” toothbrush system that will begin shipping in late 2022. The body is made from hard, durable plastic. Inspired by watch design, the product uses a spring-loaded, windup motor to power its oscillating brush head.

The inventor said “I had some wacky ideas at first, I tried an air pressure motor and a solar motor,” “And then I came upon watch mechanics, and saw how a spring could drive a motor and the motor could drive the head.” The resulting product is a sturdy, analog brush that uses a familiar mechanism: Simply wind it up like a watch or tin toy, and it will buzz with the same efficiency as its electric counterparts—and can be taken anywhere.

You can also try the inverse heuristic to generate ideas, which states that if an object performs one function, a new artifact might be realized by combining it with an object that performs the opposite function. The claw hammer is a good example. So is a pencil with an eraser. Can you create new objects from the list of random objects by combining the object with something that performs the opposite function. How about a small cap for tightly sealing a soda can that could be attached to the lever of the pop-top device?


Michael Michalko is a highly acclaimed creativity expert. To learn about him visit:

To learn about his books visit:

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