Today what we’re going to talk about is a tool called Combination Creativity. What it is basically is where you take things that already exist but they haven’t been combined together previously in the same manner to come up with something totally new. We have a great example of Combination Creativity, so let’s get to it.
In Australia’s Sydney Harbor, Dr. Robert Dane was sitting on the dock, thinking about boats, fairies, and the transportation inside the harbor—one of the busiest harbors in the world. The problem is, almost all the boats and ferries run on diesel, a huge pollution problem.
Dr. Dane read a book about ancient insects and the evolution of how they grew wings. Now common sense would tell you they grew wings to fly; that’s what I thought. But after he did his research, he found out that originally, insects grew wings to regulate their body temperature.
They used them as solar panels; they stuck their wings out to absorb.
So he took this concept of a bug’s wing, in combination with a pollution-free sailboat, combined with the efficiency of electrical solar panels. Now I know you think this probably sounds good on paper, somebody’s pipe dream, some high tech computer game or something, but surely nothing realistic.
Combination creativity—a combination of things that already exist but just haven’t been used previously in the same manner. A dream come true?
“I stood on the banks of Lake Lillirippen and saw all the boats, and I knew we could do sailing boats, and it just struck me that both of those were just half the story. The answer was wings—solar wings. Insects evolved wings firstly as solar reflectors and then used them to fly, and I knew that if we could use the sun and the wind together, we would be able to get more speed out of the boat than you could by force alone, and it would also be independent of the vagaries of the sun, which doesn’t always shine, and the wind, which doesn’t always blow.”
What an awesome idea. Congratulation Dr. Dane, I really hope this concept catches on. What a cool idea for the environment.
OK, I want you to think about how you can use Combination Creativity in your own business. Think about taking things that have never been combined before—they already exist, they just haven’t been used previously in the same manner. Think about how you can do that to come up with new products, new processes—if you put your mind to it, you know the opportunities are endless.