Semantic intuition

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The Semantic Intuition is a creative technique in which new by combining words and verbal ideas ideas to be generated. It is particularly suitable for generating new product ideas.

Background thought

With semantic intuition, compound words are formed from two individual words, which are usually taken from the context of the task. The resulting word is a stimulus that can lead to a new idea.

This approach is often described as the reverse of the common practice of first inventing a product and then figuring out what to call it. With semantic intuition, on the other hand, you first create the name of a possible product and then think about what this product might look like.


In the simple variant of the method, a list of terms is first collected from the environment for which new ideas are to be developed. Then each two words from this list are combined to form a new word. Finally, it is considered what could be hidden behind this new word combination.

In a more sophisticated variant, two word lists are created that have different relationships to the task. For example, in a new product idea, one list might consist of typical components and the other of functions. Words from both lists are then combined.

There is also the option of using words that have nothing to do with the task at hand. This can lead to innovative ideas, but at the cost of higher wastage because the method then comes close to a random technique .


Ideas for kitchen products are being sought. Two lists are created from the task area. The first list consists of typical activities in the kitchen: stirring, cooling, stewing, seasoning, ... The second list is made up of objects that are typically found in the kitchen: pot, knife, egg, pan, ... This results, for example the word creations: stirring pot, egg spice, cooling pan . Possible innovations are a pot that stirs its own contents, a special spice mix for fried or breakfast eggs and a pan with a cooling function for desserts.

Advantages and disadvantages

The method can be carried out quickly and requires neither preparation nor prior knowledge on the part of the participants. However, it harbors great wastage, since the word combinations often do not lead to useful ideas.


  • Anne Bolte: Intuition and Emotion. Influences of moods on semantic activation and implied judgment processes . Dissertation, University of Osnabrück 1999.
  • Helmut Schlicksupp: Innovation, creativity and brainstorming . Vogel Verlag, Würzburg 2004, ISBN 3-8023-1984-2 .

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