Finding connections between seemingly unrelated products, services, brands and experiences offers a fresh perspective to identify and solve problems in healthcare. Look outside your organization and push past convention to reconsider challenges from a different angle.

Analogous thinking involves recognizing similarities in unexpected places to glean insight and inspiration. This exercise is a valuable challenge to one's point of view and involves asking a multitude of questions and embracing the unexpected.

As healthcare leaders, working within a resource-constrained environment is all too typical. These conditions demand a high level of creativity and resourcefulness. Take the time to look up from your work and explore other consumer experiences and interactions that healthcare can learn from.


  1. Identify all of the 'places' for exploration related to your topic. What are the underlying characteristics or principles? Starting with a mind map is helpful. 
  2. Prioritize and focus on a few key areas. What other product, service, brand or experience reflects a similar characteristic or principle from outside of healthcare? Generate a list of as many ideas as possible.
  3. Select one idea to compare and contrast. Identify similarities and differences that can inform your exploration.
  4. Try the reverse. Generate a list of compelling products, services, brands or experiences (successful examples and avoidables) to compare and contrast to your area of focus.
  5. Generate more ideas. How would another organization approach your product, service or experience? Find broad and narrow connections.
  6. Use these insights to focus and prioritize your topic of exploration and remember to share your findings with others. 

Challenge yourself to carve out a few minutes every day to look outside of healthcare in order to find inspiration. Build this into your daily practice—gleaning inspiration from every article, interaction and conversation. While secondary research is valuable, take time to immerse yourself firsthand…and consider it work-related.