Analogy Game: Training and Activating Analogical Thought

  • Yukio Ohsawa
  • Yoko Nishihara
Part of the Understanding Innovation book series (UNDINNO)


As we mentioned in Chap. 1, innovation, which is more than the mere creation of novel ideas, can be achieved in an environment where suitable constraints are placed on human thought rather than allowing people to freely speak out ideas. We developed a Web-based environment for a word categorization exercise called the Analogy Game (AG). This game aims to elevate the inherent ability of individuals to externalize concepts based on existing words. In AG, players are engaged in analogical reasoning that contributes to the integration of words and leads to the construction of new concepts. We tested AG using both experienced employees working at companies and junior high school students. Both groups were presented with ambiguous words and asked to categorize them. Our results suggest that the presentation of ambiguous stimuli is associated with the analogical process of innovative thought. The older players, who have long been engaged in innovative work both at school and in their companies, tended to apply more insight to the word categorization, whereas the younger players relied more on trial and error. We present this case along with a case in which artists improved their work (based on their own evaluation) after playing AG. These cases show how AG works to measure and elevate innovative thought.


Analogical Reasoning Ambiguous Word Business People Word Categorization Junior High School Student 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering Department of Systems InnovationThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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