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What would the Harvard of agricultural extension services look like? Mash-up two existing brands or concepts to explore new ideas.


Suggested Time

30-45 Minutes

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Pens, Post-its, paper


Design team

Process Phase

Mash-Ups are similar to Analogous Inspiration in that each Method relies on isolating the exact quality you’re looking to design into your solution. For Mash-Ups, however, this is more a thought exercise, a chance to pose bold, even unreasonable questions to speed your thinking along. If you’re trying to design a healthful school lunch, you might ask, “What’s the farmer’s market version of a cafeteria?” Or if you want to determine how to make financial services more social, you might ask “What’s the Facebook version of a savings account?” The trick is to layer a real-world example of whatever quality you seek onto what you’re designing.


  1. The first, and hardest, part of Mash-Ups is to isolate the quality that you’re looking to add to your solution. Is it efficiency, speed, cleanliness, glamour? Write it down on a Post-it and put it on the wall.
  2. Now that you’ve got the quality you’re after, Brainstorm real-world examples of businesses, brands, and services that embody that quality.
  3. Now, layer that brand on top of your challenge and ask your Mash-Up question.
  4. Take your Mash-Up question and Brainstorm what it would look like in the context in which you’re designing. Capture all your ideas on Post-its and put them up on the wall.