Creative solutions and outcomes derived by combining things in new and unusual ways.



An example of creative combinations in use

The pressures of work

You want to leave work early today, but there seems to be a lot to get through.

Maybe, you could combine some of your tasks and save some time???

Things needing to be done are:

  • Go to an appointment with client/customer;
  • Training of a new staff member;
  • Have lunch;
  • Delegate work to various staff;
  • Return some emails and calls.

Creative combinations that may be worth considering are?

  • Take the client to lunch;
  • Take staff for lunch. Train and delegate as you eat;
  • Take a staff member to the client visit as a training exercise;
  • Ask the staff member to drive while you email, phone and delegate;
  • Take the client to lunch with staff;
  • Or even further combine the above options.

The outcome:

Yahoo, you get to go home early.


Okay, “that seems pretty obvious” I hear you say. Let’s get a little more … adventurous!

The restless child …

Create an entirely new range of activities and interests by combining the things that they love.

Chrissy loves her dolls and she loves to play hide and seek. Hide the dolls and let Chrissy seek. Let Chrissy hide the dolls …


The struggling student …

Find work in the field of your study that potentially contributes to your learning.

Get a job at the university to save on travel time/expenses.

Tutor lower-level students for your income and reinforce your foundational skills.

Live with other students successfully doing similar studies. Only date …


The demands of work …

A family holiday that allows you to work so that you enjoy time with your family but don’t fall behind.

Bring the family to work. A school holiday job …

Install a gym at work or hold meetings at the gym. Build a functioning kitchen or childcare at work. Combine your kids with other employees’ kids. Share-ride so that you can discuss things on commutes.

You can combine people and/or objects and/or tasks and/or hopes etc.

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Creative play for children 

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Let’s step it up into something more … “targeted”.

Always do this …

Take the time to get to know the people around you. Learn about their circumstances, their passions, and their hopes. As you do so, you’ll begin to see how people might combine differently for better outcomes.

Some examples:

I took the time to find out the interests of employees and then combined those interests in the search for new business. The enthusiasm generated was amazing.

I researched the interests of my clients and combined them with account service staff who had similar interests. The results were amazing as staff built stronger relationships with the clients through external activities.

I love boats. I now combine my boat with my work activities with clients and staff.

You get the idea …

Check this out:

Real examples of lateral thinking in use in the workplace

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Need some practice?  Head over to my exercises page.

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Combining things creates superior opportunities.

The more diverse your combinations, the greater the opportunities you create.


Go to lesson 12

. . . for the ULTIMATE problem-solving technique

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Check out the concise definition: What is lateral thinking?

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Classic lateral thinking examples

2 thoughts on “Lesson 11 – Creative Combinations

  1. This is one of my favourite lessons! Thank you!

    As a busy, professional working mum, I’ve already used creative combinations for soooo many things:

    * Going for a walk around the park while my son is soccer training
    * Calling my friends/family while I’m driving to/from work
    * Call my boss for a morning check in while I’m driving to work
    * While my car is in for service, offer one of my employees my car space
    * Test my son’s spelling while we’re cooking dinner together
    * Invited my co-worker to join me in a random starting point exercise for a real client brief

    There are too many to list….


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