Presentation Designer's Toolkit

The Mash-Up Method

What is it?

The Mash-Up Method is a brainstorming technique where you bring together seemingly unrelated elements to generate new ideas and solutions. It's like throwing a bunch of different ingredients into a blender and seeing what comes out! This method can be a real lifesaver when you or your team feel stuck and just can't seem to break through the obvious answer. By combining two totally unrelated concepts or categories, you're able to break out of the traditional way of looking at a problem and exploring new perspectives.

Whether you're working alone or with a team, the key is to generate as many ideas as possible. Don't be afraid to think outside the box, even if your ideas seem outlandish or impractical at first. It's important to avoid judging or dismissing ideas too quickly, as they may lead to even more innovative solutions when combined with other ideas.


      When to useĀ it

      When you need to get past obvious solutions, explore new possibilities, and break through mental barriers


      Remember to:

      1. Select two categories or concepts that are unrelated and not typically associated with the problem you are trying to solve

      2. Focus on quantity over quality

      3. Let loose and have fun

      How it works

      Here's the general process step-by-step. Your can also download the activity worksheet below for an example that takes you through going beyond the obvious metaphors for a keynote presentation concept.


      Succinctly define the challenge you're facing. For example, if you're working on visuals for a sustainability focused keynote and need a fresh way to approach a visual metaphor for uncertainty you'd write down "How could I visually represent uncertainty in a way that is unexpected?"


      Choose two unrelated categories. One should link back to your challenge and the other should be unrelated or associated with the problem you are trying to solve.


      Give each category it's own column and define a number of outputs. Aim for a high number of ideas, like 20 for each. Don't worry about the quality of the ideas at this stage, just focus on generating as many as possible. This increase the chances of finding some truly innovative and unique concepts that you may not have thought of before.


      Now that you've defined your categories, it's time to start generating ideas! Set a timer for a short period of time, like 2 or 5 minutes, and write down as many elements for each category as you can.


      Take a look at the lists you've created and start combining (this is where the name mash-up comes in) elements from each one. Don't be afraid to try seemingly silly combinationsā€”sometimes the most unexpected combinations can lead to the most creative and innovative solutions.