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Defining Limitations

Limitations define the ideal structure for your idea, and give us a framework from which we can evaluate different conceptual forms, and their associated will's that were explored in the previous stage. Where we find limitations, we also find a renewed sense of creativity; overcoming limitations can often serve as a primary inspiration for a new idea.

Limitations can be broken into six categories:

Immediate limitations, physical limitations within the same frame of reference Superego limitations, the values we want to impose on the idea 

Devil's advocate limitations, all of the things that could go wrong 

Limitations of balance, ensuring we don't isolate ourselves from reality or get too ambitious

Feedback limitations, the current limits of the idea's audience (end users)

The first four types of limitations can be evaluated at this stage prior to committing to developing the concept. If it seems like the chosen embodiments of the idea (concepts) don't work with the limitations that we discover in this stage then we suggest to try creating new concepts that might be "cheaper" so to say, or closer to fitting within the structure of limitations. Feedback is a more dynamic type of limitation that should be referenced by the engagement of the concept once it has been produced. Feedback can only happen once the product of the idea has been integrated into a shared reality.

Evaluating your idea: The first four limitations 

Immediate Limitations

These should be defined with reference to universal laws that govern the frame of reference that your idea is in. Universal laws are the constructs that dictate the interactions of physical phenomena within a frame of reference. These usually include things like relativity, causality, inertia, correspondence, compensation, attraction, gravity, speed of light etc. These are laws that are consistent in almost every frame of reference, at least any frame of reference we will be dealing with unless you are trying to work with ideas in other universes... But that's another type of idea development. 

An example of determining immediate limitations in flight would be: 

Air resistance, gravity, atmospheric pressure etc that would all impose varying physical limitations to your concept. 

An example of immediate limitations in non physical dimensions can be explored using a CAGE framework; exploring the (C)ultural, (A)dministrative, (G)eographic and (E)conomic environment of your idea. So flight may be limited by cultural associations with other forms of transport, legal administrative barriers, types of terrain, and the socio-economic prosperity of the space that you intend to fly in. 

Superego limitations (Morality, value, ideal direction, vision etc) 

In psychology, the superego is the part of the personality that mediates a sense of morality and consequences to the self. It is formed by a number of influences from parents, community expectations, cultural norms, genetics, ancestral history, and conditioned in the present through the individual's development progress interacting with other ideas and concepts (including people). It provides the conscience, the "angel" and "devil" on our shoulder which helps us differentiate between right and wrong. It gives us a sense of inhibition and contributes to feelings of guilt and shame as a guide for self control.

The superego derives its sense of values from an ethical maxim or greater purpose than the individuals requirements. That purpose could be the progress of the human species; regulating the self to become more cooperative with other people. It could be a cultural goal of individuation, or collectivization. The higher ideals that the superego strives towards are based on an implicit set of values that exist in society, but they can also be set by creating a vision. If an individual is able to set a vision and boundaries for themselves, their superego will provide the inhibitions and conscience that will lead the individual towards their higher goal. In our context, this higher purpose is derived from the vision and original inspiration explored in the first stages. The vision, via the superego, creates the first set of limitations that should be considered when evaluating the idea. We will call this the ideal limitations. 

These restrictions that the superego places on the self, are necessary to providing a moral context for the individual. We recommend exploring this concept further in the archetype of "The Analyst", to get an idea of how to best embody a sense of consequence and inhibition so over time the idea drifts towards your intended vision. 

Debater limitations & lessons

We recommend reading the section on "The Debater" archetype for understanding the suffering component of your idea. This section covers all the various forms of suffering the idea might experience, and what better way to understand the concept of suffering as exploring the relationship between your idea and the devil via the devil's advocate or the debater. 

In a more practical sense this is where we apply the logic of the devil's advocate; what can go wrong, and why. What is your idea's weaknesses, where is it's Achilles heel, what makes it tick. What are some new insights on the assumptions we've made so far?


We also explore a form of "punishment' or disincentive for if the idea has challenged a boundary or limitation. What kind of disincentives can be integrated into the idea as a form of guiding it towards the ideal goal. This will need to consider the idea's will, and then some form of holding back the idea from it's will. When physical boundaries or limitations are breached the result is often destruction; i.e. a flying object will break a wing if it flies too fast in an air medium - this would be a form of punishment. Flying objects "want" to fly, and by breaking as a consequence of breaking the rules, it is no longer able to fly.


An analogy can be made to non physical boundaries being broken; in the case an economic boundary was broken during a flight; say it burned too much fuel then some limitations on it's performance will be necessary. If a flying object breaks some cultural tradition, then there will be a form of punishment in the response of the social structure negatively criticising the idea. When an idea is "punished" for breaking some boundary, this is a sign that this is a limitation that should be considered in the evaluation and development of your concept. Punishment, or when the idea is not able to fulfill its will, is a signpost for how to define limitations. 

Limitations of balance

How do you balance the desires and needs of your idea with the needs and desires of you? We recommend reading the section on the archetype of "The Realist" to understand how to balance your idea between your wishes, it's wishes, and practical reality. Ideas that are too isolated from the world and sit in the high tower removed from the day to day operations of the world will become unstable as it is guarded from reality in it's ivory tower. Ideas that have too many limitations from overthinking will be stifled, and ideas that are allowed too much freedom may end up having too much influence. The exploration of the destruction archetype will support you in trying to balance these considerations. 

After identifying the limitations for your idea, you can use these as a frame of reference for evaluation the feasibility of your idea. 

Limitations from feedback

This is only relevant once the idea has been introduced to the world, and observation of feedback can begin. We recommend reading the archetype of "The Critic" to get a good idea of how to apply feedback meaningfully within the context of still achieving the purpose of the idea. During deployment of the idea, the learning stage is the mediator between the product stage of 9 and the engagement stage of 10. Only feedback that has been filtered through the lens of limitations and lessons should be integrated into the product. Then the idea is brought into the world and new feedback is received. This forms the feedback triangle between engagement, learning, and product. 

If you have any questions regarding limitations and lessons for your idea, how to create a structure and make the most of lessons based on the limitations, or how to balance requirements for your idea, then please contact us! We thrive on your engagement and participation with our model, so please don't hesitate to send over any questions! 


"Limitation makes the creative mind inventive" - Walter Gropius

Through observation of the new found agency of your concept interacting with it's environment, and other ideas, we can explore a new dimension of consequence and community. In this stage we evaluate the consequences of the will and choices made in the previous stage, and set out clear boundaries and limitations governed by both our intentions for your idea's development and by having a transcendent perspective outside of the idea's scope of awareness. You can see yourselves here functioning as the psychological concept of the idea's superego; fulfilling your role as the primary custodian and moralizing agent over your ideas. 

Our role in facilitating idea development, is creating the structure that allows the idea to grow in a direction that benefits ourselves and the idea. Like a vine following a determined path a gardener defines. This stage lays out the structure that the idea grows on. 

Synonymous Ideas


CAGE context




Inputs: Concept, temporal parameters, engagement feedback

Outcomes: Defined limitations, Evaluated agency 

Integrated feedback 

Archetypes in focus 

Analyst assesses the motion of the idea

Debater points out flaws in the concept

Designer brings the face to the product

Realist balances the requirements for learning and action

Critic integrates feedback into learning

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