Morphological Box

Type of record:
  • Micro method
  • Creativity technique
Handout PDF-Export Add experience
Ideal innovation phases for this method:
  1. Innovation Phase
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. 10


According to its inventor Fritz Zwicky, this creativity technique is intended to provide a "total solution" to a given problem. The technology first breaks down a problem or challenge into individual parts, which are then combined and assembled again in a variety of ways. The term morphological box is somewhat misleading; a kind of morphological tableau or table is used.

The term can be interpreted according to general interpretation (including quotes from Schlicksupp) and derived from Greek as:
- Gestalt-, Formen- und Strukturlehre
- order produced according to certain criteria
- interdisciplinary methodology
- integral, comparative approach

Creation of a variety of ideas, especially for product improvements, updates and product reformulations, by systematically breaking down complex issues into delimitable individual elements (problem parameters), varying the shape of the individual elements and combining shape variations to create new overall solutions.

Necessary experience: Thorough knowledge of the field of activity is a prerequisite. In order to fully exploit the possibilities of the method, in-depth application experience is highly recommended. However, modest morphologies can also always be successful in initial experiments.

Since finding the parameters from experience is perceived as the most difficult step, some more
- The parameters must be logically independent of each other so that they can be freely combined.
- The parameters must be able to apply to all conceivable solutions and not only be valid for a subset of the problem.
- The parameters should have conceptual relevance and describe not insignificant details of the solution sought.
The creation time for complex morphologies can be very long and can take several days or even weeks.

The aim of the Morphological Box is to develop new problem-solving approaches.
For this purpose, a problem is split into subproblems, subfunctions or process steps (parameters), which are noted down among each other. It must be ensured that the individual parameters are independent of each other and can be operationalized. In addition to the individual parameters, values of this characteristic are then noted. In this way, a matrix is created in which all combinations of parameters and possible characteristics are recorded. By considering different combinations of characteristics of individual parameters, new ideas for the design of problem solutions can be found. In order to create and use the morphological box to its full extent, the problem must first be analyzed in detail and broken down into its subproblems or components. The subsamples must be modular and independent of each other.

The advantage of this method is that it is particularly suitable for dealing with complex constellation problems, where an overall solution results from the combination of different individual solutions.

Building a suitable morphological box requires the user to have a sound technical knowledge of the problem area in question, without which he will in most cases fail quickly.
  • Effective for design innovations
  • Effective for highly complex challenges
  • Effective for incremental innovations and improvements
  • Effective for medium complex challenges
  • Effective for product innovations
  • P5 Idea Finding (ideation - idea generation - creative phase - incubation)
  • P6 Idea enrichment (idea combination - idea integration)
Register now for free