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« HIT* (or miss) Thinking »



A few years ago, in a movie on the Claus Von Bulow trial, I saw the defense team play basketball while each player wore a Tee-shirt emblazoned with a word or two that explained an aspect of the case.

Shooting hoops, the lawyers would see the buzz-words flash by their mind's eye in intriguing combinations‚ until someone suddenly AHA's a needed solution.

HIT - * Heuristic Ideation Technique - is a great way to quickly spit out avenues for further development. It can be also used as a stand-alone technique.

Heurism is a Greek word that means self-discovery and the word is most often seen in the phrase: Eureka! Which translates as: I have found!

HIT involves playing with ideas until they assemble themselves into creative new ways and provoke a leap in understanding. It takes the randomness out creativity by recognizing it to be work - the 2% inspiration culled from the 98% perspiration.


  1. Choose two items of interest that already exist (For example - if I want to create novelties, I might select a cup with a floral pattern, and a certain greeting card line.
  2. Make a list of each of their components. In my example - the cup list might include things like: Its material, whether a coffee, tea or soup cup, the shape, the inside or outside color, etc.. Greeting card components can include: The event, the card stock, its pattern, color, texture, message, etc..
  3. Construct a grid where the Rows list all the components of one idea and the Columns list all the components of the other. Each cell thus holds a combination of elements from each list
  4. Cross out the cells that correspond to existing or silly ideas - e.g. Coffee cup with floral design or Card stock teabag.
  5. Highlight cells that have potential for further creative development - e.g. Soup-sized mugd with message.
  6. Develop your highlighted cells into workable HIT ideas by using other tools from the TOOL BOX.
  7. Identify cells that are thought provokingly worthy of being assembled in other HITs.


- New ideas are usually combinations of elements of existing ideas;

- The nucleus of many new ideas is often captured by a two-element combination;

- Combinations of dissimilar items (like 'chalk and cheese') will work better than combinations of similar items (Chalk/limestone)

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