I learned early in my teaching career that students need dramatic images and sayings to help retain concepts. From this methodology came the idea that students should tattoo on their arm "don't run out of cash". Later I started using the question "why can't I timeshare a dog?" to reinforce the idea of relaxing an assumption to develop a new business concept. Recently in social venture workshops I have compared non-profit foundations to stockbrokers, which usually quiets the room and grabs everyone's attention.
The latest idea that I have introduced into my repetoire of teaching tricks is "functional fixedness". This concept basically shows that we have an inherent inability to deconstruct physical things in order to re-assemble them for new purposes. The famous example is you find a box with two rings, a candle and matches. How can you connect the two rings. Most people cannot come up with the solution because of functional fixedness.
Yesterday I heard about a great example of functional fixedness that has spawned a new business model. Most restaurants rent their space but have limited operating hours that match the meals they offer. The rest of the day the space is dormant. In a new business model for restaurants, restauranteurs are renting the unused time (and space) to launch totally different restaurants. For example, during the day the restaurant offers American cuisine for breakfast and lunch and closes at 4 pm. Now at 7 pm a new restaurant uses the space to offer nouvelle French cuisne dinner meals. Both restaurants have lower operating costs and the physical space (functional fixedness) is better utilized. Very clever.
Answer: melt the candle and use the candle wick to tie the two rings together.