The checkerboard method, also called morphological analysis, is an extension of attribute modifying. Specific ideas for one attribute or problem dimension are listed along one axis of a matrix. Ideas for a second attribute are listed along the other axis. If desired, a third axis (and attribute) can be added. Figure shows the checkerboard.
The cells of the matrix then provide idea combinations. For instance, the axes for a vehicle might be type of energy source (e.g., rollers, air, water, rails), and type of vehicle (e.g. cart, chair, sling, bed). The above figure shows a simple application of the checkerboard method to the design of paper clips. The benefit of the checkerboard method of analysis is that it makes us aware of all possible combinations of the attributes. Many, of course, will prove to be little value, but others may be worthwhile. Like other creativity enhancement techniques, the checkerboard method makes us view the world from a different perspective. It is very useful for producing large numbers of new ideas.
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