Mind Games

IdeaFisher Pro

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.

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This article was originally published in the March 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Mind Games.

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