Creative Combinations Technique

Generate original thinking through the use of CREATIVE COMBINATIONS





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:

You ring your client and suggest a working lunch. The client is happy to oblige, and they are quite okay that you’re bringing the new staff member along for training.

The staff member drives to and from lunch, giving you time to make some calls, work through your emails, and discuss the operations of your business and the role of the new staff member.

By combining some of the things you had to do, you saved an entire hour.

Yahoo, you get to go home early.


Some other creative combinations examples …

  • You desperately need a holiday but your partner has to work . . . holiday near where they work, or, maybe your partner can work from (holiday) home for a week;
  • You need to generate more income as a student, but you also need more time to study . . . get a job that offers work experience in your field of study;
  • It’s time for your workout but one of the kids has a problem with schoolwork . . . take the child to the gym and discuss as you train;
  • You need to spend more “getting familiar” time with clients and staff, and also get exercise . . . start and sponsor a recreational sporting team.

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

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Creative play with children using Creative Combinations

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Combining things that have synergy

Let’s start with something simple to give you some confidence.



Write a “to do” list of ten urgent things in your week.

Try to combine some of the things for a better outcome.

Write down a list of great holiday asperations.

Are there any combinations worth considering?

What are the top FIVE things you want for your loved ones?

I’ll bet there are synergies in your hopes that combine well!

What about the top FIVE improvements you want in your life?

Can they be combined to make them more achievable?


Let’s keep moving …

Creative combinations … the next level

Okay, combining things with synergy leads to superior outcomes.

What happens though, if we combine things that don’t have synergy?


Please read the second personal example on this page.

Okay, so by combining a lot of the dysfunctional aspects in our family life, we created a really great outcome.

Do you agree?


Once again, please take a quick look at the second example on this page.

As a new member of the staff and given the most difficult job within the agency, I think you will agree that combining the interests/passions of staff with the requirements of my job got a pretty good result.

What should you “take away” from these examples?


You can potentially combine anything to achieve original thinking creativity.

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Need more practice?  Head over to my exercises page.

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Lateral thinking lesson 11 – summary

In order to generate new and original thinking, try combining things that you’ve never thought of combining before.


Please remember to discuss, share, practice and teach what you have learned here.

That’s it!

Go out and use your new skill frequently. You’ll get better with practice.

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Go to lesson 12

. . . for the ULTIMATE problem-solving technique

 – – – – –

Check out the concise definition: What is lateral thinking?

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For the complete lateral thinking menuClick here

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Classic lateral thinking examples


These free lateral thinking lessons are brought to you by Michael John Muxworthy

Michael Muxworthy Sci-fi Novel
Coming soon – Michael Muxworthy

2 thoughts on “11. Combining things creatively

  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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