Creating New Metaphors

Developing new perspectives on complex issues

Many challenges facing humanity today and in the future are complex, involving relationships, complexities and timescales which are difficult to visualise or make sense of in simple terms. We often use metaphors, unconsciously or otherwise, to make sense of these issues. But these metaphors can also cause particular ways of thinking and framing ideas to become entrenched, sometimes getting us stuck in the same old loops. In such cases, new metaphors can be helpful. 

Creating New Metaphors can help inspire students to take creative approaches to imagine the future, creating new strategies, products, services, communication campaigns and ways of explaining ideas, and more widely, help reframe societal issues. All metaphors are wrong, but some are useful. Coming up with – and discussing – new metaphors can become a kind of disruptive improvisation technique, an expanded conceptual vocabulary for helping us think differently and reframe issues, together or individually.

Learning outcome

  • The student is able to generate and use a range of metaphors for making sense of complex issues