Random Picture brainstorming technique – a free how to guide

How to Use the Random Picture Technique


The Random Picture technique is a creative problem-solving method similar to the Random Word technique. It involves using a random image as a stimulus to generate new ideas and solutions. This technique encourages looking at a problem from a fresh perspective, inspired by the visual elements in the picture.

Steps to Use the Technique:

Random Picture brainstorming technique
  1. Obtain a Random Picture:
    • Source a random image from brainstorming software, magazines, encyclopaedias, picture books, or websites. Ensure the selection is random to maintain the effectiveness of the technique.
  2. Analyze the Picture:
    • Study the image closely. Consider the activities, situations, people, and principles depicted. Ask questions like: What is happening? Why are these actions being taken? How do the elements relate to each other?
  3. Extract a Concept or Idea:
    • Identify a key element, theme, or idea within the picture that resonates with your problem.
  4. Apply the Idea to Your Problem:
    • Imagine how the identified theme, situation, or object from the picture could apply to your problem. This does not need to be a direct solution but rather a starting point for further exploration.
  5. Develop the Idea:
    • Think about how this new perspective or concept could lead to a potential solution. The idea might evolve into something more viable as you work on it.
  6. Use Techniques for Moving from Stimulus to Idea:
    • Employ methods similar to those used in the Random Word technique to transition from the stimulus (the picture) to concrete ideas.

Things to Watch Out for:

  1. Avoiding Picture Rejection:
    • Resist the urge to discard a picture because it seems irrelevant. The challenge lies in finding a connection, no matter how abstract, to your problem and the more difficult it is to create a connection leads to more likely the chance of coming up with a novel idea.
  2. Preventing Preconceived Ideas:
    • Be cautious not to let the picture simply reaffirm an existing idea. Approach the technique with an open mind to generate truly new concepts.
  3. Distraction by Aesthetics:
    • While appreciating the picture’s aesthetics is natural, remain focused on the task of idea generation to avoid getting sidetracked.
  4. Over-reliance on Visual Stimuli:
    • Unlike the Random Word technique, there’s a risk of becoming too focused on the visual aspects, potentially limiting the breadth of idea exploration – make sure you extract the principles and concepts within the picture to reapply to your problem.

Random Picture Technique Example:

Scenario: A team is trying to develop an innovative design for a children’s playground.

Random Picture: The team selects a random picture, which happens to be of a bustling cityscape at night, illuminated with neon lights and full of diverse architectural structures.

Brainstorming Process:

  1. Observation: The team first observes various elements in the picture – the bright colors, the varying heights of buildings, and the dynamic energy of the city.
  2. Associative Thinking: They start associating these elements with the playground design. The neon lights inspire thoughts about incorporating vibrant, colorful elements into the playground. The diverse architectural structures lead to the idea of having play areas with different themes and heights, creating a sense of exploration and adventure.
  3. Idea Development: From these associations, a novel concept begins to emerge. The team envisions a playground that lights up with solar-powered, colorful LED lights during the evening, making the playground accessible and exciting even after sunset.
  4. Further Refinement: The idea of varying heights and themes in the playground is further refined to include a miniature cityscape for children, with climbable structures modeled after skyscrapers, bridges, and tunnels, encouraging imaginative play and physical activity.
  5. Solution: The end result is a unique playground design inspired by the cityscape picture. It’s a vibrant, engaging, and inclusive space that changes character from day to night, offering a safe and exciting environment for children to play in at any time.

Outcome: The random picture of a cityscape led to a creative and innovative playground design, incorporating elements of light, varied structures, and an adventurous theme. This approach demonstrates how random visual stimuli can spark unconventional ideas and solutions.


The Random Picture technique is a valuable tool for stimulating creativity and discovering novel solutions. By exposing yourself to unrelated visual stimuli and finding ways to connect them to your problem, you can uncover innovative ideas that might not surface through traditional brainstorming methods. Give it a try with a random picture and observe how it can enhance your creative problem-solving skills.

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