The Morphological matrix is a form of random stimulation that can be used solo or in groups. It is ideal for generating ideas when you have an idea about WHAT you wish to do but not HOW you might go about doing it.

If you were a TV producer you might ask the question “How might we go about creating a new soap opera?” To use this technique in such a case first create a table with ten rows labelled 0 – 9 and 4 columns initially numbered 1 to 4.

Next perform the following steps:

  • Label each column with a different parameter or characteristic of the problem or task e.g. for our example column 1 could be target audience, column 2 – setting, column 3 – theme, column 4 – suggested title.
  • For column 1 generate varied and/or unusual ideas and fill the column (you now have ten wacky suggestions for target audience).
  • Repeat for column 2, column 3 and column 4. Try not to refer to adjacent columns when filling a column.
  • Randomly select four numbers in the range 0 – 9. To do this you could
    • Turn over 2 dominoes, 2 numbers on each end gives four numbers
    • Use the last four digits of your telephone number
    • Use the last four digits of your National Insurance number
    • Use the day and month of your birthday
  • Use the four numbers to generate combinations by using each number in turn as in index into one of the columns. Each set of four random numbers thus selects a target audience, setting, theme and title. Record your combination.
  • Repeat the previous step as many times as you wish (and keep recording the results). Note that this simple table can create 10,000 different combinations!
  • When you have sufficient combinations, choose one (or more if you have time) to examine in greater detail. You might use them as generated or they might suggest something else to you.

Good luck!

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