The Power of Metaphorical Thinking

Metaphoric solutions provide inspiring real-world insights. The creative impact of metaphors in creative problem solving, inventing and development of innovative strategies is enormous.

Metaphors allow you to carry out your thoughts out into the unknown by using the known as a stepping stone... More

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Kore 10 Innovative Thinking Tools Sof Skills for Innovation and Entrepreneurship The Jazz of Innovation Vadim Kotelnikov: personal branding Vadim Kotelnikov: Coaching by Example Invent New Things Design Entrepreneurial Strategies Anticipate Opponents' Moves Master of Business Synergies (MBS) Balloon Creative Problem Solving Innoball Training 10 KIIT for Innompics SPIN - spiral integration of ideas Flashlight 10 KITT - KoRe 10 Innovative Thinking Tools


KoRe 10 Innovative Thinking Tools (10 KITT) are relevant and rich metaphors for the kind of things we work on in life and business when we need to design innovative entrepreneurial strategies, find creative solutions to a complex problem, invent new things, anticipate opponents' moves and spot trends, master systematic and systems thinking, and build synergies.

It is easy to draw meaningful and inspiring comparisons between your topic of concern and the KoRe 10 metaphoric tools.


This process tool is suitable for individuals or groups.

Best Practices, Case Studies, Success Stories "KoRe" stands for "Kotelnikov's Recipe >>>


Having created the set of 10 Metaphoric Tools, I fine-tuned it on both my own innovative projects and in collaboration with my trainees, clients and partners. Every application of the 10 Metaphoric Tools produced truly insightful, inspiring and empowering results.


Step 1: Metaphoric Solutions

Use each KoRe 10 tool to come out with one or more metaphoric solutions.

Smart analogues help you take a new perspective, inspire creative thinking and describe your ideas to others.

Metaphoric solutions are also to lead to insights that apply to the real world and to inspire practical ideas.

Step 2: Practical Solutions

The results of the smart analogy exercise are to inspire many practical ideas. Explore the list of metaphoric solutions you've generated and look for goals, strategies and actions that could be accomplished with real-world tools.


KoRe 10 Innovative Thinking Tools
help you
streamline a brainstorming process
come out with truly
inventive solutions 










Below are some examples of (1) metaphoric and (2) practical solutions


Magic Tool

Metaphoric Solution

Practical Solution


Too little air pressure

Deflated emotions

Competitors fly higher

Wrong wind

'Heads in the clouds'

Gaining visibility

Higher level (e.g. top level marketing)

Elevate your product / your company above the competition

  Surprise To Win 

  Create greater value Innovations; Develop a new-to-the-world product  

  Invent more effective differentiation and creative marketing strategies

Take a helicopter view

  Work on your business  

  Build synergies and balance your business system

  Invent new growth strategies 

Set a stretch goal

  Create and articulate an inspiring vision and strategic intent 

  Launch a crusade

Travel to a new place

Discover new opportunities 

  Create a new market niche 

  Develop a Blue-Ocean strategy



Too little light

Too little limelight

Batteries are down

Looking in a wrong direction



Draw or focus attention

Showing the way

Find new ways of doing things

  Challenge assumptions; ask 'Why? What if?' questions

Discover customer needs; obtain market insight or competitor intelligence

  Make trend spotting practices a habit

  Create early warning teams

Find new partners

  Define what is required to be superb, but is outside your capabilities

  Look for the desired core competencies and great synergy potential

Find the problem and its roots  >>>

  Use the 5-Why process

Find an innovation solution to a problem

  Brainstorm; take different perceptual positions; discover opportunities

Make rules more visible

  Promote corporate values / guiding principles / idea evaluation guidelines



Mike is off or volume is too low

Earphones are not working or distort sounds

Competitors' intelligence

Asking questions


Communicating, persuading

Convey a message

More voices / perspectives

Communicate with employees

  Create a more effective suggestion system  >>>

  Communicate the knowledge and information that people need

  Facilitate cross-pollination of ideas

Communicate with customers

  Listen to customers; obtain customer feedback

  Partner with customers for development of new solutions

Communicate with external experts

  Exchange knowledge and ideas with a diverse group of experts and innovators

  Inspire criticism to discover improvement opportunities


Fishing Rod

No fish is caught

Poor catch

Easy catch

Wrong bait

Fishing in a wrong place

Enemies are fishing in your pond

Exploring a pond

Testing a bait

Better bait

Learning to fish

Catching some fish

Catching the fish

Hook & rod to water ski behind a jetboat

Hide Away

Test the market

Experiment with different baits to find out what works best

Create a better bait

"Catch" investors / partners / employees

Hire away a key player of a competitor;

Beta-test a new product

Experiment with various marketing approaches and techniques

Ask learning SWOT questions

To be completed soon



Cutting / Cutting off





Wasting resources

Insufficient value



Cleaning  Removing  Flying  Punishing

Risks in test marketing: giving competitors the opportunity to quickly copy your product.



Running on a leash

Existing ties are too strong

Weak ties with the target group


Strengthening ties


connecting/disconnecting; attaching; binding together; fixing; tie/untie; building synergies; pulling out; catching, lassoing

Attachment to something (old habits, existing structures, etc.) causes resistance to change




Too masculine

Nailing Adjusting Destroying Punishing





Problems with identifying winners

No celebrations

Low emotional drive

Insufficient rewards

Hard to judge

Standing out

Opportunity to win

Elevating emotions

Celebrating victories

Greater rewards

Motivating  Rewarding  Winning/Losing

Success is often more dangerous than failure because it can lead to complacency. Complacency is a very dangerous foe of innovation. It is a key reason why innovative ideas are rejected outright. Previous victories nurture an innovation-unfriendly mindset: 'We are doing well right now so why do we need to change?'



Lack of capital

Low value

Cash flow problems

Insufficient rewards

Low profits

Reducing costs

Buying additional resources

Better financial incentives

Effective pricing

Earning  Loosing  Spending Giving


  • Cost overruns

  • Wrong rewards: many organizations reward conformism and successful political behavior over value innovation and market-changing results which makes it better to keep up appearances than to create the future.

  • Financial incentives are not big enough to motivate the team members to give their best to the project

  • Competitors invest heavily in a similar solution