March 2, 2024

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I Fall For Art

The Power of Analogy to Stimulate Creative Thinking

This week, the theme of developing your creative and problem-solving capacities continues with the presentation of another useful intuitive technique, analogy, which is closely related to imagery.

Analogy Explained

Both analogy and imagery are very effective when they are used individually or combined with other intuitive methods, though analogy is more restrictive as a process of producing new ideas, because the point of departure is a comparison. Analogy can be described as one similarity between two elements that are different in any other respect. It helps you to discover new angles and perspectives on the character of problems and questions that emerge in the creative process, and not only. Like imagery, this technique is also applicable to issues in various areas of life. There are four types of analogy: personal, direct, symbolic, and fantasy analogy.

Types of Analogy

  1. In personal analogy, you identify yourself with an object or process in order to gain a new insight on an issue. You put yourself at the heart of the problem. For instance, if you want to paint on a canvas, you imagine yourself as this object and start asking questions: ”If I were the canvas, what would I like to have painted on me?” ”What would art lovers find fascinating about the painting on my surface?”
  2. In direct analogy, you compare two facts or objects. One fact/object is related to the problem you are trying to solve, while the other one is not. Then you use the connections between these two to arrive at creative solutions. Just try to choose an external fact/object that is adequately known to you and suitable for rousing your imagination.
  3. In symbolic analogy, you use an image which is not right, but vividly depicts the implications of an important aspect of the problem. It can involve investigating the purpose of a solution: In this case, you formulate a statement and try to find how you can complete it: ”… (A thing) which… (functions) like a(n)… ”
  4. In fantasy analogy, you set your imagination free without being concerned about any possible constraints imposed by reality. With this technique, you recognize that your wildest imagination can turn out to have practical value and that you can capitalize on it to solve real problems!

As a creative woman, have you used any of these types of analogies to solve problems in work or in other areas of your life? How have they helped?