On Monday morning I stopped at the traffic lights and a man came over to my car and pushed a one-page flyer through the slit in the top of my window.
I glanced at the flyer which was advertising a service to dog owners. The service includes transporting dogs to and from your vet, updating inoculations, rabies inoculation, defleeing and deworming.
The owner of this service has combined dog care with transport to come up with the idea for a mobile dog service.
How often have you seen two or three concepts combined to make a winning idea?
Once you start looking, you’ll find combining all over the place. Combining concepts or objects takes place in new trends, fashions, foods, music, services, clothing, buildings and cars.
Think of a skateboard and snow which ended up being a snowboard. A conventional energy guzzling building retrofitted with renewable energy such as solar panels becomes a “green building”. A 4×4 vehicle combined with recreation becomes a recreational vehicle.
Sometimes this lovemaking between ideas is called a fusion. Consider the fusion between jazz music and blues. The result: Jazz-Blues. When I was in Bangalore, India, I ate Chinese-Indian fusion cuisine at a downtown restaurant. Deliciously spicy and very hot.
Arthur Koestler in “The Act of Creation” said: “Definition of the creative act – the combination of previously unrelated structures in such a way that you get more out of the emergent whole than you have put in.”
Samsung is combining a watch with a cellphone. Toyota has combined conventional energy with renewable energy to form the hybrid Prius. Apple combined the concept of an A5 pad and computing to bring about the iPad.
Henri Poincare, the mathematician, said it elegantly: Ideas rose in crowds. I felt them collide until pairs interlocked so to speak making a stable combination. Among the ‘stable combination’ the most fertile will often be those formed of elements drawn from the domains that are far apart.”
You won’t easily combine ideas using rational left-brain thinking. You have to use your intuitive right-brain synthesising function.
If you want to come up with new ideas, and woo your thoughts to flirt with each other and “interlock” into new combinations, this is where you will need to go.