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Fast combination

Field of application


Idea improvement
Product design
Service design
Process design
Creativity skills development



Combination is one of the ways in which the creative mind works. To find new solutions or improve the actual services or products offered by a company, using Fast combination can be a good way to find new ideas. This game works very well as a training and development tool too. As a demanding creative game, the participants can learn about their own creative capacities and the way on which creativity works.
In this game, participants try to create new solutions through the combination of attributes found on different elements. The result is a collection of new ideas, some a little crazy and some very promising.


Target group
  • Entrepreneurs
  • I&D teams
  • Innovation teams
  • Students
  • Community
Group size

Teams of 1 to 6 people. The minimum number of teams is 3 and a maximum of 5.



Increase mental flexibility and get the group ready for an ideation session.




  • Set of things to combine. If your are going to play the "Brain vertigo" version you will need a set for each team.  You can use:
    - A deck of cards showing different elements.
    - A collection of real objects in a bag
  • Paper and pen to write down the ideas

You can play the game online showing physical cards on your camera or sharing a presentation showing two cards with the elements to combine.
For each player: Paper and pen (physical) or a digital board (Google Jamboard, Microsoft Board, Miró, Mural or other)



  • 15 to 20 minutes
Implementation - Overview

This fast game follows these steps:

  • Time setting
  • Teams take pair of concepts to combine and generate ideas
  • Idea counting
Implementation - Guidelines

The facilitator explains that every team will be searching for new ideas on a special subject. This subject can be:

  • A new business concept
  • A new product or new service
  • Other subject adapted to the particular situation

The game can be played in two different versions:

Version 1: Brain vertigo
In this version, each team has its own set of elements to combine.
1. The facilitator gives the starting signal and each team takes two elements of the deck and try to build 1 to 3 ideas following the subject designated.
2. Once the team has written down the ideas, must take another pair of elements and repeat the process
3. When the time is over, the facilitator gives the finalization signal and all the teams stop writing.
4. The facilitator validates the amount of ideas written by each team to find the winner.

Versiòn 2: Brain confrontation
In this version all the teams are using the same pair of elements. This version is not a competitive game but a playful experience around creativity.The process goes as follows:
1. The facilitator takes a couple of elements from the set and show them to everybody
2. All the teams try to imagine combinations of those elements to accomplish the subject defined.
3. After some time (30 seconds to 2 minutes will be a good amount of time) the facilitator change the elements and all the teams must start using those new elements to ideate.
4. After the amount of pairs defined (5 to 8 would be a good quantity) the facilitator ends the game.
5. The facilitator compares the solutions depicted by each team and make comments about the originality and potential of each solution.


Example of


An innovation manager of a company was trying to find the reason for the low level of creativity shown in the ideation sessions carried out in the last months. Suspecting that the participants were in the wrong mud or mental state as they came thinking about their own problems, the manager looked for a way to move them to a more creative attitude.

The Fast combination game accomplished the goal beautifully. After the game, the participants showed more flexibility and originality, and enjoyed the sessiòn much more.

The manager played the Brain confrontation version and used elements present in the meeting room to carry out the game. Each time, he picked elements from the room and asked the participants to imagine new inventions combining attributes, parts or functions coming from each of the elements.

Playing the first round, the teams experienced difficulties finding solutions for the combination proposed. But on the next rounds their brains got warmer and more creative and great ideas appeared more easily.

The participants really appreciate the warming game. As a matter of fact, the Fast combination game become one of the favorite activities to start meetings all around the company.


Templates, Graphics for download N/A
Additional format/references