Related Worlds

Related Worlds


What is this for? This helps teams to find the best ways to potentially solve their problems. It helps with divergent thinking that is needed to generate a range-of-alternatives. Inspiration from related worlds plays a critical role in sparking ideas. Mindset and core principles Don't worry about being "creative"! Designers rarely create from scratch but rather borrow from 'Related Worlds' of existing things. This is why having a curious mindset (at all times) is important - you can "fill the well" of inspiration be being more in-tune with everyday life.


AC Activities_Related Worlds_1.pdf2806.1KB

Step 1: Determine the "prompt"

  • You need a "prompt" to start with, but it doesn't need to be perfect. Some of the ways to prompt with could be:
    • A statement that describes a better customer experience (e.g. a better way to get your daily nutrition)
    • A "How Might We" statement that has turned a problem, into an idea springboard (e.g. HMW remember to take vitamins every day)
    • Key principles that have to do with your topic (e.g. "Nutrition", "Forming Habits", "Easy Wellness")
    • Anything that captures key aspects of your challenge well enough to explore!

Other Tips:

  • Make sure it aligns on your vision/goal
  • Discuss the Killer Questions that's need to be answered
  • If you have a lot of "prompts" do a quick VOTING/ Heatmapping to pick 1-3


Step 2: Explore the best examples

  • Ask, "Who in the world does this well?" - "Where have I seen this problem solved elsewhere". Consider many sources of inspiration, outside of your industry. Loosely-connected is OK, it’s exploratory.
  • If time allows, do some research to explore key examples. Take notes and gather images to help convey this to others later.


  • BE SPECIFIC Finding inspiration like "Amazon" will be way too broad to be useful. Get more specific. (e.g. Amazon's Subscribe and Save menu that appears when purchasing). Use specific imagery. is will translate into solutions faster.
  • GO EXPERIENCE IT. We've seen a ton of success from immersing yourself in "related worlds". The ability to touch, feel, taste, and smell will bring your inspiration to a new level!
  • If you're struggling to find examples, ask yourself - "Where would I go to find DEEP expertise? Or WEIRD knowledge?". We call this exploring "Deep, Weird, and Normal" sources.


Step 3: Share and take action

  • Determine the best way (and amount of time) for your group to share their key examples of inspiration -giving each person 1-5 minutes to share their findings is usually sufficient.
  • Create a central place to record or capture inspiration.
    • It could be digital whiteboards, taking turns with powerpoint presentations, or doodling on stickies. Sometimes it helps to have a live sketchnoter (see Lightning Demos).
  • Utilize voting practices to help determine lead inspiration components
    • "Heat Map Voting" is a way to vote using many dots - the dots are typically smaller and used to highlight specific points of interest. Don't worry about picking the "right" inspiration components, just seeing areas of interest.
  • Take Action
    • Once you've highlighted with voting, you're now ready to make choices. Often, we conduct idea or concept sketching after this activity. Each person can put together an idea or sketch that pulls together various highlighted components from your centralized board.
    • You could also share this with other key stakeholders for feedback.
    • It's a great resource to keep on hand or digitized, because in such an iterative approach you'll likely be going back to your inspiration later.
    • image

Try it now

Use the Miro board below to try it now! (click "See the board") You can also duplicate this Miro and try it with your team.

Additional Resources


Recommended reading


Additional Resources

  • Runaway Species: How human creativity remakes the world, by Eagleman and Brandt
  • Creative Brain, David Eagleman | Netflix Documentary (Trailer)
  • Innovation Framework PDF , KII/MBM


Related Tools

πŸ› οΈ Beta version Help us improve this Toolkit by sharing your feedback