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Unstick Your Creative Blocks with a Morphological Matrix

The next time you get stuck trying to find a creative solution, you might want to try using a Morphological Matrix to uncover some interesting and intriguing solutions. A morphological matrix is a chart that describes various alternatives of a set of parameters.   For the sake of clarity, let’s build a morphological matrix for a beer bottle.

Step 1: Build Your Attribute List

The most critical step in building a morphological matrix is the attribute list.  If you do not get everyone to agree on the attribute list, you will not be able to build the matrix.  You will only have chaos.  When we consider the list of attributes for a beer bottle, the attribute list might look like this:

  • Shape
  • Color
  • Volume
  • Material
  • Top

We could certainly add more attributes to our concept of a beer bottle.  For the sake of clarity, let’s use the above list for illustrative purposes.

Step 2: Build Your Matrix

Use the attribute list as the header rows for your morphological matrix.  You can place the header rows on the top or side of the table (use the header style that you prefer).  Below is an example of the header rows listed on the side.

Beer Bottle Matrix Empty

Step 3: Build Options for the Attribute List

With your matrix started, you need list out the various options for the attributes. You can come up with as many options for each attribute that you want. For the sake of clarity, let’s provide 4 options for each of the attributes of our beer bottle matrix. As shown below, we have a complete morphological matrix for our beer bottle.

Beer Bottle Matrix Filled

As shown above, you have five attribute with four options. If you look at all of the pair-wise complete combinations, the formula is:

4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 = 1,024 options

You can come up with alot creative designs by using a morphological matrix. You will never get stuck, again!

Get caught in the matrix!

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