Random Word technique

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This is an example of a creativity technique - a quick stimulus for getting a fresh insight into your problem. Try the quick exercise below on a real problem to see it in action. If you want time to think, you can go offline - there is no processing during the exercise. We have a worked example if it helps to make the technique clearer (note this will change the random word).

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First think of a problem you have, or an new idea or direction you would like to develop. Jot down a few words about it.

When you have noted your problem, put it to one side for a moment.

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[If your browser does not support Java Script, you will not see a word above. Try picking a word at random from a dictionary ... or upgrading to Navigator 4/IE 4. Our apologies!]

This word has been chosen at random from a list on the web site. First of all, spend a minute noting down any associations you have with this word. What does it make you think of? Have you any memories associated with it? Jot down a few words or short phrases the word makes you think of.

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Now look back at your problem. Think about the associations you have generated for the random word. How could you use any of the associations and memories you jotted down? Is there anything you could do differently, inspired by these thoughts? Be as indirect as you like; perhaps one of the associations will make you think of something completely different that will help with your problem. Here's a box to note your thoughts:

If you are finding it difficult to think of something appropriate, see our worked example for inspiration. When you return the random word will have changed - ignore that and stick with your original associations.

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There's nothing magical about Random Word. In fact it won't always work, but it is one of a range of creativity techniques that will regularly deliver new ideas by pushing your own creativity out of its rut. Try it again on something different - click on the Refresh button of your browser for a new word.

There are many more creativity techniques available - see elsewhere on this page for suggestions of how to get hold of them.

Copyright © Creativity Unleashed Limited 2006
Last update 13 September 2006

Copyright © Creativity Unleashed Limited 2006
Last update 13 September 2006


Random Word is one of many different creativity techniques available to stimulate creativity. They aren't magic - they depend on pushing you out of your conventional train of thought, making you come at a problem from a different direction.

Until you have tried one, you probably won't believe they work - so have a go. What does a random word have to do with your problem? Nothing - that's the whole point. It is designed to move you away, to get you out of a rut.

More on techniques

A broader range of techniques are supported by our free and shareware creativity software. See the software page for more information.


To find out more about creativity in general and techniques in particular, see the business/creativity section of the CüL online bookshop.


There are 75 more techniques in our popular budget book Instant Creativity

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