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When using the task unification technique, I want you to be aware of a few common challenges. First, try not to pick obvious components to perform a certain task. If you find yourself looking at the component list and asking, "Gee, which of these components "would be best to perform this task?" You're not using the technique correctly. You may end up finding one, but it likely won't lead to a creative idea. Instead, try to pick a component randomly, or pick something that is nonobvious or counterintuitive.
The best ideas happen when you get a component doing a job that it had nothing to do with before you applied the technique. Next, be sure to scan the closed world carefully to spot the less visible external components. Think of the example of the grocery store in Korea that used subway stations to become a new point of sale. It's easy to overlook these innocent components that are right under your nose so to speak. You have to train yourself to consider anything and everything that is right around where the product is being used.
They can be put to some new creative use using this technique. Be sure not to confuse task aggregation with task unification. The Swiss army knife, for example, is a collection of various tools on one familiar platform. It's a handy tool, but I don't consider it creative. It's aggregating various functions into one place. It would be much more creative to take one of those tools and assign it an additional job over and above its existing job.
Finally, be sure you use all three types of task unification to get the power out of this amazing tool. The beauty of task unification is you can mix and match it with the other techniques to push the creative envelope even further. Do you remember the subtraction technique? As you generate novel ideas with subtraction, think of replacement components within the closed world to take on additional roles. When you apply the division technique, think how a component that is placed somewhere else could assume an additional role given its new location.
For example, dividing your computer screen into separate areas allows you to assign new additional tasks to each window such as displaying different software applications. When using multiplication, make a copy of the component, and then change it in such a way that the copy has a new role in addition to its existing one. This kind of inside-the-box thinking enriches the potential value of any creative idea.
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