The Zwicky box: a powerful method for problem solving and creativity - Deepstash
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Boost your creativity with a systematic approach

Boost your creativity with a systematic approach

You may want to create an online course or write an article but find it difficult to generate ideas.

If you feel stuck, the Zwicky box is a practical approach to creating many unique ideas by breaking the problem into categories, adding value to each category, and combining these values.


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The man behind the Zwicky method

The man behind the Zwicky method

Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky was a prolific 20th-century scientist. He wrote over three hundred articles, ten books, held fifty patents, developed jets and rocket propulsion systems, and discovered dark matter. He found over a hundred supernovae, and coined the term "supernova". He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1973 for his work in astronomy and also received the Medal for Freedom in 1949 for his innovation.

His secret sauce for his creativity, problem-solving and ideation is the Zwicky Box (or “morphological analysis”).


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Increasing the efficiency of your brain x 100

Zwicky stated that his method could increase the efficiency of our brains 100 times.

He believed that if we could "free ourselves from our pedestrian patterns of thought and learn to think morphologically, the future could be shaped by our images."

When it comes to solving problems, our brains often jump to familiar solutions. For example, if your phone is low on power, charge it. But we often stop when we have a few solutions. Only when all possible solutions are exhausted can we find diverse answers and select the best possible solution.


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How to create your own Zwicky box

How to create your own Zwicky box

  1. Define your categories. Take a similar existing solution, list each part, then turn it into a category.
  2. Add the values. If you have difficulty in creating values, try looking for inspiration from existing solutions,
  3. Create unique combinations. Pick from each category and link the values together. Continue to create these combinations even if you don't see anything valuable at first.

If you have a Zwicky box with five categories, and each category contains five values, you can have 3125 unique combinations. From there, you can pick one or two high quality, innovative ideas.


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Using the Zwicky box in your everyday life

The Zwicky box can be applied to everyday life, for example:

  • Creativity. You can use the Zwicky box from story planning to content creation.
  • Innovation. You can use it for market innovation, business model creation, product development, and prototyping.
  • Decision making. Use the Zwicky box to help with strategising, financial modelling, and daily decision making.
  • Brainstorming in a team. Everyone on the team can contribute to creating and filling the Zwicky box.


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