Many of the most important breakthroughs in history—including the printing press, the theory of evolution, the airplane, the assembly line and the computer desktop—were developed through the use of key conceptual analogies.
That’s because analogy is much more than a linguistic device; it’s a fundamental way of thinking. To make an analogy is to make a comparison that suggests parallels between two distinct things, explicitly or implicitly. And those who are most nimble at seeing parallels and connections, rather than just obvious differences, compete best.
Here are four rules for innovating through analogy:
- Question conventional analogies
- Explore multiple analogies
- Look for diverse sources