Forced Association

Let me digress a bit to settle a thought that came in after the lat post. In the post I mentioned about the technique called ‘Forced Association’, which is a popular technique for ideation. (Forced Association is a technique in which a series of random words are forced into association with the topic under investigation. These artifically paired words are then considered for creative possibilities). I have never been a fan of anything like this. For me quality associations are spontaneous, natural and effortless.

Whenever I think of Forced Associations, a game we used to play as kids comes to my mind. Let me reproduce the game for you here:

The objective of the game is to change something to something else. For e.g Change CAT to DOG. The rule is: you begin with the first word, change only one letter at a time to have another meaningful word, till you reach the second word. Who does it with the shortest number of words is the Winner.

For CAT to DOG, here is a solution





Definitely we enjoyed doing this, but was it something creative? I don’t know. But for a reason that I don’t know of, this comes to mind whenever I hear the term ‘forced association’

Want to try one for your own? Try changing  TRUTH to FALSE….

Postscript: The great India poet Kalidasa was a master of analogies. His famous work Raghuvamsam begins with a verse in salutations to Siva and Parvati, which can be translated as “To derive the pertinent idiom and its ideation I adore the Parents of Universe, pArvati – parameshvara, who are indissolubly cleaved together like sound and sense…”


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