Random Stimuli

One of the most invigorating approaches to jump-start idea generation is to use random inputs or Stimuli. It’s a great technique when you’ve hit a creative wall or block.

Random stimuli help re-energise and redirect the mind. They work by triggering associations or novel connections. Some are new ideas while other may trigger whole categories of notions which in turn create a flow of new ideas.



To be really effective, Random Stimuli should follow a structured 3-step process.


Step 1

Select a word or picture at random from a book or magazine.

  • Example: a picture of a bridge


Step 2

As a group, briefly describe the random item; say what it is, how it works, what some of its key characteristics are.

  • Example: the bridge has a long span, pillars, towers, with suspension cables holding up a road of multiple lanes. It curves slightly to counter the weight of traffic and its materials.


Step 3

Ask how each of these characteristics could be applied or transformed to help with the problem.

  • Example: could suspending help solve the problem? Or what about separating it into different channels, paths or sequences?