Countless things in the world work similarly. Understanding one concept can help you understand a seemingly unrelated one.
Solutions from one arena of thought can often be applied to solve problems in other areas. In business, this concept is called Business Problem Topology. You identify a challenge in your industry, find a solution from an unrelated industry, and apply that solution to your challenge. For instance, cable companies could fix their bad reputation by applying the pizza delivery model of “30-minutes or your pizza is free”. If the technician is late for an appointment the service call would be free. Source]
Beginning to see the world in equations, or thinking in parallels, will revolutionize both your creativity and your ability to solve problems.
Take electricity and water. Both electricity and water flow through conduits. Though they are not the same, understanding water can develop creative solutions to electrical issues.
Just like you can limit the flow of water with nozzles, you can limit the flow of electricity with a dimmer. The nozzle can be fully open allowing free flow or a nozzle can be shut down enough to only allow a trickle. A dimmer can be switched on to allow full power to a light bulb or it can reduce the flow of electricity to make the light glow softly.
The more things you can equate, the bigger your arsenal of creativity and solutions. If you have 300 similar ideas and solutions, you have more options to solve a creative crisis. So start thinking in equations. What equals what?
Note: Bonus points if you get what those five objects have in common.