Creativity is often about connecting one thing to another. To support this sort of idea generation I developed Circle of Four. This technique works just as well when working on your own as it does in a group situation.

In a nutshell, you identify a creative territory that will act as a theme or focus for your ideas. You then list properties related to that theme across four categories before brainstorming ideas that link those properties to your brand, product or service.

The categories include:

  • Events: List events, dates or milestones that link to your theme e.g. if you theme is “romance” then you could include Valentine’s day, a first date, London Wedding Show
  • Brands: List brands that already operate in this space, for the example above for instance you could include Interflora or Thorntons
  • Products: List products that are prevalent around the theme / focus e.g. rings, chocolates, flowers, wine
  • Emotions: List emotions and feelings connected with the theme e.g. love, happiness etc

People: 1

Equipment: Pen & paper


  • Download the Circle of Four template here
  • Write your creative territory in centre of the page e.g. romance, music, future, art
  • Spend at least 10 minutes brainstorming other properties or assets around the four categories
  • Spend the remaining time brainstorming new ideas using the properties and associated questions on the template as inspiration

Tip: Spend a good amount of time thinking about the properties in each of the four categories as these will ultimately act as your creative springboard for idea generation.

Find more brainstorm techniques here.


  • James Farquharson

    Good post, Dan.

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