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Forced Conflict


Creative tools > Forced Conflict

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it as a way of stimulating further creative thinking about the problem.

Use it to focus on an internal conflict within the problem.



  X        Long



      X    Psychological



    X      Group


How to use it

This is a simple method which generates creative tension through phrases that hint about the problem yet are difficult to understand.

Find essence of problem

Find an essential element of the problem, in particular (but not necessarily) where there is some form of internal conflict or difference. E.g. 'Staying cool when working hard'.

Create conflicting phrase

Create close-coupled phrases where the words fight one another. Just two words is often enough. Introduce paradox or poetic elements -- anything that will stimulate different viewpoints. E.g. 'energetic iciness', 'frozen flames', 'chasing the fridge'.

Use as stimulus

Use these as a further creative stimulus.


I am working on creating an automatic door-opening system. I frame it as 'closing on open' and use this to trigger ideas of detecting acceleration towards the door and opening the door fast enough so no collision occurs.

How it works

When we are faced with conflict, we feel a tension that we seek to reduce. This is used in this method to motivate the subconscious to provide some ideas.

See also



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