To think outside of the box, you need some kind of randomness.

This is why we developed the “Hackers’ Deck” for our marketing event sponsored by Yahoo! JAPAN. This nifty deck of cards can magically generate ideas for Internet businesses.

On each card, it has “service” and “feature”. For example, on “service” are “instant messenger”, “auction site”, “IP-phone”, etc… and on “feature” are “for seniors”, “invitation only”, “detachable”, etc.

How to use it is simple. You shuffle the deck and draw two cards. Then you read “feature” on one card, and “service” on the other.

Hacker's Deck

This creates random ideas such as “downloadable auction site”, “once a year address book”, or “RSS-enabled e-Learning site”.

Some of these results make sense, and some do not. However, even if they do not make sense, your mind will try to find the link between two completely different ideas, thus generating more and better ideas.

Of course, you can generate more ideas if you play this with your friends/colleagues.

This little brainstorming tool is fun and effective because:

  • random combinations create inspiration (new ideas are the combination of existing ideas).
  • you and your friend have something to talk about (creativity occurs in conversation).
  • your hands keep moving (physical movements affect your creativity)
  • when you get bored, you can always play regular card games :)

A lot of people who got this deck at the event told me they liked it and some actually use it at business meetings. Maybe I’ll create the English version if you like the idea.

Here are some photos on The Hacker’s Deck.

Gen Taguchi is Japanese and a systems engineer/blogger who lives in Tokyo, Japan. You can read his lifehack ideas at Idea * Idea.

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