1. Velcro: Swiss engineer
George de Mestral was inspired to create Velcro after a hunting trip in the
Alps. He noticed that the burrs from the burdock plant stuck to his clothes and
his dog's fur. Using this analogy, he developed a hook-and-loop fastener system
that has revolutionised the clothing and textile industry.
Sharkskin swimsuits: Olympic swimmer Speedo was inspired by the
texture of sharkskin to create a new swimsuit material that reduced drag in the
water. By incorporating the analogy of how sharks move smoothly and quickly
through water, Speedo was able to create a revolutionary new product.
Bullet trains: The design of the front of the Shinkansen bullet
train in Japan was inspired by the beak of the kingfisher bird. By applying the
analogy of how the kingfisher dives into water without creating a splash, engineers
were able to design a train that moved faster and more efficiently.
Siri: The creators of Apple's virtual assistant, Siri, were
inspired by the science fiction movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." By
using the analogy of a computer that could understand and respond to human
speech, they were able to create a revolutionary product that has changed the
way we interact with technology.
Airbnb: The founders of Airbnb were inspired by the analogy of
how people share their homes with friends and family. By applying this analogy
to the hospitality industry, they were able to create a new business model that
has disrupted the hotel industry.
These examples demonstrate how analogy thinking can lead to innovative solutions and products. As an entrepreneur, you can use this tool to develop new products, ideate, problem-solve, and make better decisions
. By looking at nature, other industries, and seemingly unrelated things, you can draw connections and create new ideas.
Incorporating analogy thinking into your business strategy
can be done in several ways. You can encourage your team to look for inspiration from different sources, such as nature, art, or other industries. You can also use brainstorming techniques that encourage analogy thinking, such as "what if" questions and association exercises.
Here are six examples of how analogy thinking has been used to create new innovations:
Nature is a great source of inspiration for entrepreneurs. Other species can inspire the innovative use of resources, space, and time. For example:
• Spider webs inspired the production of silk
• Honeycomb patterns inspired strong structures
• Whale fins inspired the design of wind turbines
By incorporating analogy thinking and learning from natural systems, entrepreneurs can build new technology that is sustainable, efficient, and effective.
2. Other industries:
Entrepreneurs can also learn from different industries. For example:
• Slaughterhouses and grain warehouses inspired Henry Ford to create assembly lines.
• Velcro was inspired by the burrs of the burdock plant.
• The design of bullet trains in Japan was inspired by the beak of the kingfisher bird.
By applying analogy thinking to industries unrelated to your own, you can incorporate new ideas and ways of thinking into your own work. This can lead to breakthrough products, services, and ideas.
3. Space Exploration:
Space exploration can also provide inspiration for entrepreneurs. NASA, for example, has often looked to space for inspiration in developing new technology. For example:
• NASA's study of the wings of an owl inspired the design of quieter wind turbines.
• NASA's Mars Rover was inspired by the design of a crab's leg.
• NASA's new spacesuit design was inspired by superhero costumes.
By looking to space exploration, entrepreneurs can apply analogy thinking to find innovative solutions to problems or create new products.
Art can inspire entrepreneurs to think creatively about branding, packaging, and design. For example:
• The packaging of Apple's iPod was inspired by the clean lines and simplicity of a candy box.
• The design of a Tiffany & Co. necklace was inspired by the folds of a ribbon.
• The colours and patterns of a Van Gogh painting inspired a designer to create a line of clothing.
By looking to art, entrepreneurs can apply analogy thinking to create visually appealing products and designs that stand out from the competition.
Fashion can also provide inspiration for entrepreneurs. Designers and brands have often looked to fashion history and trends for inspiration in developing new products. For example:
• The design of a wedding dress was inspired by the architectural structure of a building.
• A brand's logo was inspired by the patterns and colours of a traditional textile.
• The silhouette of a shoe was inspired by the curves and lines of a famous piece of sculpture.
By looking to fashion, entrepreneurs can apply analogy thinking to create unique products and designs that reflect current trends and stand out from the competition. The fashion industry is constantly innovating, and entrepreneurs can draw inspiration from the use of new materials, designs, and manufacturing techniques. For example, Adidas's Futurecraft 3D shoes were inspired by 3D printing technology.
Sports can provide entrepreneurs with inspiration on teamwork, strategy, and leadership. For example:
• The "Moneyball" strategy in baseball was inspired by data analysis and statistics.
• The success of the "Dream Team" in basketball was inspired by teamwork and individual player strengths.
• The "zone defense" strategy in basketball was inspired by military tactics.
Sports can also provide inspiration for entrepreneurs. Athletes and sports equipment can provide ideas for innovation in different sectors. For example, the high-tech materials used in sports clothing can be applied to medical and military uniforms. For example:
• High-tech materials used in sports clothing can be applied to medical and military uniforms.
• The aerodynamic design of bicycles can inspire new designs for cars and airplanes.
• The grip technology of climbing shoes can inspire new designs for safety equipment.
By looking to sports, entrepreneurs can apply analogy thinking to create effective teamwork and leadership strategies or develop new products and services that utilize sports data and statistics.
Music can inspire entrepreneurs to think creatively about branding, advertising, and marketing. For example:
• The use of music in advertising was inspired by the way music can evoke emotions in listeners.
• The design of music streaming platforms was inspired by the way people listen to music and share it with others.
• The use of music in branding was inspired by the way music can help create a brand identity.
By looking to music, entrepreneurs can apply analogy thinking to create innovative advertising and branding strategies that resonate with their target audience. For example, studies have shown that music therapy can improve the recovery process for stroke patients.
Incorporating analogy thinking into your business strategy can be done in several ways. You can encourage your team to look for inspiration from different sectors, attend conferences and talks outside of your industry, or simply take time to reflect and draw connections between seemingly unrelated things. With practice, analogy thinking can become a valuable tool for entrepreneurs to generate new ideas, products, and solutions that are innovative and unique.
In conclusion, analogy thinking is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs to draw connections and comparisons between seemingly unrelated things. By incorporating this tool into their work, entrepreneurs can apply new ideas and ways of thinking to their business, leading to breakthrough products, services, and ideas. Whether drawing inspiration from nature, other industries, space exploration, art, fashion, or sports, entrepreneurs can use analogy thinking to create innovative solutions and stand out from the competition.
At Creo Incubator, we believe that analogy thinking is a valuable tool for entrepreneurs looking to generate new ideas and solutions. By taking our entrepreneurship courses
, you can learn how to think more creatively and innovatively, giving you a competitive edge in the market.