Kiosk Guides for Learning

The only difference between a problem and a solution is that people understand the solution
Dorothea Brande,
1893 - 1948
American author

Problem solving series

Using analogies in
creative problem solving

Use analogies to compare and contrast options in problem solving and decision making.
This is a great way to brainstorm and organize new and creative solutions.

With the exercise below, four strategies are considered. With each, you will compare relations, similarities or contrasts, between words, events, things, etc. in order to understand the situation.

Work though them with lower step circles:

    • Fantasy
    • Close-similarity
    • Surprising
    • Personal
Options using analogies to resolve problems:


    • Identify/define the problem
    • Imagine solutions without telling yourself "no" to any one option
      Suspend all judgment and/or doubt
    • Brainstorm variations on a solution:
      Apply options even to the most extreme

"Close" options

    • Identify/define the problem
    • Discover solutions that have worked in the past
    • Brainstorm solutions from this starting point


    • Identify/define the problem
    • Try to think of an unrelated event, word, time, etc.
    • Brainstorm solutions in trying to bridge the differences


    • Identify/define the problem
    • Now imagine yourself in the middle of a "room" with the problem
    • Brainstorm solutions in trying to "get out"
Meeting challenges:

Problem solving overview | Defining the problem | Gathering information |
Developing/weighing alternatives | Implementing decisions |
Graphic overview of process | Adaptive decision making |
Managing by exception | Managing stress | Motivating yourself |
Problem based learning | Using analogies in creative problem solving