This program gives you the tools to break a task into its components and explore each one. IdeaFisher (IdeaFisher Systems; Windows, $189.95) has two main sections. In QBank, a series of questions helps you isolate the problem. QBank routines include strategic planning, marketing and general problem-solving.
Once you've specified a problem, you can go to the heart of the program: IdeaBank, a patented database of more than 65,000 words, phrases and concepts arranged in topical categories. More than a thesaurus, it's a network of cultural associations, grouped and interconnected the same way the human brain stores data.
Here's an example of how it works: Let's say you want to develop a new picture frame. QBank prompts you to list all the qualities of a frame, including "level." IdeaBank then links this word with a carpenter's level. Voilá! A picture frame with a built-in level so it always hangs straight.