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Breaking ideas down into component parts facilitates creative reinterpretation

Last updated March 17, 2023

Authored By:: Joel Chan

Breaking ideas down into their component parts allows us to creatively reinterpret ideas for new purposes, such as creating a new understanding of a problem, or creatively reuse ideas in new contexts.

In insight problem solving, there is the idea of chunk decomposition (see, e.g., @knoblichConstraintRelaxationChunk1999). The basic idea goes something like this:

@mccaffreyInnovationReliesObscure2012 has extended this idea to detail how being able to “break down” an idea or object and see its component obscure features in a function-free manner is a powerful strategy for breaking fixation by creatively recombining objects to come up with novel solutions.