Thursday, June 30, 2005

Leaps in personal creativity

I started the following topic in Innovation Tools:

I'd like to ask people what learnings have led to a significant leap in their personal creativity? Or put another way: what are the first tips you would give to someone who wanted to improve their personal creativity?

For me:
'Look beyond the first right answer' (from Roger Von Oech's 'A Whack on the Side of the Head').
and initially responding to new ideas with 'yes and' rather than the idea-killing 'yes but'.

Any takers?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Brainstorming Secrets

Interesting post in this Business Marketing Ideas blog.

"Have you been in a "brainstorming" session where each person just defended their own ideas? Worse is when people don't suggest ideas at all, for fear they'll be attacked. That's no way to brainstorm. Brainstorming is using the power of many minds, and ideas should flow freely and trigger other ideas. How do you make that happen?"

Maybe the problem with brainstorming is the starting context - the starting context is real life but instead maybe the an artificial context - within a story or movie for example - could be used as the starting context. Brainstorm participants would choose a context of a story and then imagine how the characters would brainstorm. This would help to 'switch off egos'.

I've also thought that using a movie context would be a good way to create lateral thinking provocations. Real-world limitations quickly interfere when forming provocations in a real-life context, but the context of a movie would allow more freedom of imagination.

(The original source of this article was

Friday, June 24, 2005

Using pre-listing to find assumptions

The pre-listing method can be used to help find assumptions about a subject. If I am looking for assumptions about a particular subject (the Wimbledon tournament, for example), the assumption search could be expressed as the following directive:

List assumptions about Wimbledon

If I convert this to pre-listing format it now reads:

List X-assumptions about Wimbledon

Then I can specify the 'X' by using a word from pangram trigger, directed-association or flip-flop directed-association. If the word chosen is 'end', for example, then the final directive is thus:

List end-assumptions about Wimbledon

What does this suggest? There is the assumption that the tournament will end. Or an 'end-assumption' could be a different category of assumption - perhaps the very last assumption that someone would consider - something unrelated to tennis. (the first assumption about Wimbledon would probably be that it's a tennis tournament.) There is the assumption that the tournament venue has an end (the boundary of the venue). An assumption that the games end. An assumption that players shake hands at the end etc. One pre-listing directive can suggest a lot of possibilities.

The ten percent method

The ten percent method is a simple method for creating ideas.

Information about a subject can be listed using the strategies in the profiling subjects, pangram trigger profiling and category headings/pre-listing posts. The information can be pluralised (if not already a plural) and the ten percent method applied.

Using the ten percent method

This explanation will use the information listed (from both key terms and the main body of information) about the Wimbledon tournament. The template for the idea generation is:

10 % of X is X

so if I use the listed information 'ballboys/ballgirls' the completed template will be:

10 % of ballboys/girls are X

For the 'X' I can systematically insert one of the nine category headings. Which gives:

10 % of ballboys/girls are TIME ballboys/girls
10 % of ballboys/girls are PLACE ballboys/girls
10 % of ballboys/girls are THING ballboys/girls
10 % of ballboys/girls are PERSON ballboys/girls
10 % of ballboys/girls are DOING ballboys/girls
10 % of ballboys/girls are BEING ballboys/girls
10 % of ballboys/girls are HAVING ballboys/girls
10 % of ballboys/girls are SAYING ballboys/girls
10 % of ballboys/girls are KNOWLEGE ballboys/girls

I can run through these (and the template: '10 % of ballboys/girls are X') and see if any ideas immediately come to light.

Using the original template '10% of ballboys/girls are X' I reached an immediate idea - that ten percent of the ballboys/girls would be chosen by nationwide ballot or competition. (As it stands I believe the ballboys/girls are selected from local schools.) I'm sure many young people would jump at the chance to do the job.

With '10 % of ballboys/girls are TIME ballboys/girls' I wondered if they could use ballboys/girls from another time. Maybe they could use young people who did the job at other tournaments? Or maybe there could be a kind of exchange system where ballboys/girls from tournaments around the world are given the chance to work at other international tournaments.

In addition to using the nine category headings for 'X' I can use any word/concept produced using directed-association, flip-flop directed-association or pangram trigger.

With the template:

10% of tournament ends are X

I selected the word 'to' to give:

10% of tournament ends are TO

Which made me think there could be a big party off site at the end (that players would go TO) or maybe all competitors from the tournament could run on the court at the end like the competitors at the end of the Olympics?

Other ideas

10% of wimbledon tournaments are X

I converted to:

10% of Wimbledon tournaments are TIME

I chose a time - autumn - and considered what '10% of Wimbledon tournaments are autumn' suggested. This led to an interesting idea - that during the Olympics the Wimbledon tournament could fuse with the Olympics tennis tournament. There have been some problems with the lack of interest in the Olympics tennis tournament. Perhaps this could provide a spur?
10% of Wimbledon courts are CLAY

Perhaps not a good idea in itself, but maybe the winner of Wimbledon could play the winner of another tournament in a match over two legs - one on grass and one on clay.

10% of crowds are X

Reminded me of this idea: A section of seats in TV studio audiences auctioned for charity projects

Perhaps a similar arrangement could be done at the final and other popular games?

10% of finals are X

The doubles finals are around the same time as the singles finals. Perhaps the doubles tournament could take place at another time in the summer. This would attract the top stars as they would not be concerned with their involvement in the doubles jeopardizing their singles chances.

10% of autographs are X

Players sign autographs for fans after the game. There could be an autograph tent where the public can go to meet the players and get autographs, or there could be a shop selling autographed items such as balls and photographs of players in action.

10% of dew that falls onto court overnight is X

I thought the dew could be bottled-up and sold off. A daft idea, but things such as the nets (or even the court) could be auctioned off after the event in a grand auction.

10% of fast serves are X

I used the category heading to give: "10% of fast serves are person" which gave me the idea that there could be an arrangement at the Wimbledon site where the public can serve a ball and have their service speed measured. There could be a competition for the fastest in different categories.

10% of trophies are X

Similar to the World Cup there could be a trophy kept by any player who wins the competition three times.

10% of tickets are X

There could be a cheaper ticket that enables the spectator to view only the practice courts or less popular games. (They may already do this perhaps).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Another profiling strategy: category headings with pre-listing

When information about a subject is listed what are the main categories that any listed facts will belong to? I use the following category headings:

Time (duration) Place (area) Thing (object) Person Doing (Activity) Being (Is) Having (Has) Saying (utterance) Knowledge

These category headings can be used to list key information. So, if the subject is 'Wimbledon tournament' I can choose the category heading 'place' and form a directive:

"Name Wimbledon people"

and then list people involved in the Wimbledon tournament:

Players, spectators, umpires, TV presenters, ticket sellers, refreshment providers, cleaners, ballboys/girls, judges, royals, photographers etc.

Or I could have set the directives "Name Wimbledon time", "Name Wimbledon place", "Name Wimbledon object" etc.

Use of pre-listing

I can fine-tune my search by using pre-listing. I will choose a word using pangram trigger - 'bank' - for example then choose one of the category headings - 'place' - for example and then state a directive: "Name Wimbledon bank-place". Which could suggest:

1) Henman Hill
2) The place where the trophies are stored
3) Cashpoints available for spectators

More examples

With pangram trigger word 'wit' and category heading 'time'
Directive = "Name a wit-time at Wimbledon"

1) When players make jokes
2) Exhibition/practice matches
3) Laughter in the crowd (Mexican wave?)

Trigger: 'crew'. Category: 'person'
Directive = 'Name a crew-person at Wimbledon'

1) The boss of the ballboys/girls
2) Coach parties
3) Head of refreshments

Trigger: 'see'. Category: Utterance
Directive = 'Name a see-utterance at Wimbledon'

1) "Did you see that great shot"
2) "What players did you see at Wimbledon today?"
3) "You can't see the ball because the serve is so fast"

My prefered method

I prefer to choose one category heading and list a number of words generated by pangram trigger.

So with category heading 'place' and a list of words:

big, at, chip, clot, see, ma, rent

I will use the directive template "Name X-place at Wimbledon" and choose the first random word to complete the directive "Name big-place at Wimbledon" and attempt to list three facts:

1) Big-place = centre court
2) The whole venue
3) The bar (apparently a big priority for some visitors)

Then set the next directive: "Name at-place at Wimbledon" etc.

Harvesting key terms from subject profiles

Facts/Associations listed when profiling subjects (see profiling subjects and profiling subjects with pangram trigger) can be used to harvest key terms/concepts etc. Here is a list of information resulting from the two profiling exercises:

Wimbledon tournament:

The dew that falls onto court overnight: Moisture (humidity) in the air: Sweat: Officials who stay there overnight: The foundations of the court/site: The end of the tournament: Pans used to cook food: Criticism of players: Looking for the stars of the future: People in the crowd who are very knowledgeable: Players' coaches: Umpires: Baths/showers used by players: Rain: Saturation media coverage: Ex stars: Past tournaments: Players past relationships: How people get to the site: Where the tournament is going (long term plans): The journey of players from their hotels: Players running during games: Unbeaten runs: The longevity of the tournament

When a player disagrees with the umpire's decision: Discussions on who will win the tournament: The discussions between TV commentators: Charity collectors on site: 'Sponsorship' - the labels the players choose to wear: The raising of funds by tournament organizers: Players that are still teenagers: Teenagers in the crowd: The 'teenage years' of the actual tournament: How do tennis players choose their raquet?: How much life is there in an average tennis ball?: Technology used in making decisions: Portraits of past winners at the Wimbledon complex: The photographs taken by the press at the event: The art that players have at home: Music the players like: Famous people in the crowd: Players with unconventional styles: Players with long hair: The effect that hair has on body temperature and thus performance: Players that do 'zany' things away from court - play in bands etc: The final: The winning shot in a match: What time the crowd leave: Exciting games: Air quality: How the players relax/get motivated during their break: The windows at the tournament venue: Viewing distance from court: The computers that make decisions: Vets in the crowd: Veteran players: Who are the oldest/youngest players in the tournament?: Players that smoke: Where the crowd can go if they smoke: Fast servers

Ultimately what constitutes a 'key term' is a matter of opinion, but for me this would be principle terms relevant to the subject. From the information above I would suggest:

Courts: officials: tournament: food: players: crowd: coaches: umpires: rain: media: stars: games: winners : commentators: site: sponsorship: prize money: organisers: raquet: ball: decisions: event: final: match: venue: serve

Each of these areas would be a good place to start when moving from profiling to creating ideas. It is also possible to further profile each of the key terms. (As discussed in profiling subjects post the act of profiling a subject if often enough to generate ideas - particularly when a focus is very specific. (There is a discussion of this in Serious Creativity by Edward de Bono))

Profiling a subject with the pangram trigger

The pangram trigger can be used to help profile a subject.

The pangram trigger is used to suggest random words that can be used as triggers to help list facts/associations about a chosen subject. It is primarily used to suggest short words (or two, three or four letters) but longer words can also be considered and used in profiling the subject.

As discussed in the pangram trigger post, I use the pangram:

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

(A listing of A to Z can be used, but I prefer the pangram above as it leads to a more random choice of letter selection)

and pick a couple of random letters. For example, D and E.

If the two letters form a word I will select that as the word to use for profiling. If not then I add another letter. For example, W. Which obviously forms a usuable word, 'dew'.

This word is then used to list facts in answer to the directive:

"What facts/associations are suggested about Wimbledon tournament by the word 'dew'?"

Wimbledon dew
1) The dew that falls onto the courts/site over night.
2) The moisture (humidity) in the air
3) Sweat

As described in the profiling subjects post, I will allow some interpretation but I also attempt to interpret the word literally.

A number of three letter words would have been possible withe the D and E such as:

Deb, def, del, den, der, des

but the D and E could also have been used to trigger longer words, such as:

Dean, deacon, debutante, debut, declaration, deceased, dealt, decision, deport, depot, demure etc ad infinitum

All of these can be used to find facts/associations with the subject.

So with 'Wimbledon tournament' as the subject and various words formed using the pangram trigger, here are some examples of associations/facts I reached:

Wimbledon tournament: trigger word = bed

1) Officials who stay there over night
2) The foundations of the courts/site
3) The end of the tournament

(As described in the profiling subjects post I try to make three associations although a quota of ten could be set.)

Trigger word = pan

1) The pans used to cook food
2) The panning (criticism) of players
3) 'panning for gold' - looking for the stars of the future (a lot of interpretation there!)

Trigger word = wise

1) People in crowd who are very knowledgeable
2) The players' coaches
3) The umpires

Trigger word = soak

1) Baths/showers used by players
2) Rain
3) Saturation media coverage

Trigger word = ex

1) Ex stars
2) Past tournaments
3) Players past relationships

Trigger word = to

1) How people get to the site
2) Where the tournament is going (long term plans etc)
3) The journey of the players from their hotels etc

Trigger word = run

1) Players running during games (I wonder what distance a player actually runs during an average game?)
2) Unbeaten runs
3) The longevity of the tournament

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Profiling a subject

When profiling a subject the aim is to create a huge list of facts about a particular subject. I can then choose any of these facts for further creative attention. Quite often the mere act of directing attention to a fact is enough to generate an idea.

Finding/choosing a subject

If I'm starting out from scratch with a blank page I can peruse the directed-association results to see if there are any subjects of interest I'd like to profile. But, as it's Wimbledon fortnight, I'll choose 'Wimbledon tournament' as my subject.

Use of random words/concepts and directive

When profiling a subject I use random words and concepts from directed-association results. Instead of using the random words to suggest new ideas (as in De Bono's random word technique) I use them to trigger associations. As a directive, this would be worded as:

"What association/fact does this random word/concept suggest?"

Example of profiling using 'Wimbledon tournament' example.

So with 'Wimbledon tournament' as my subject I pick a random word/concept from this blog's example of directed-association results.

Word/concept = debate
Which initially suggests times when a player disagrees with the umpire's decision.

I try to get three associations/facts from each word so that I don't fall into the trap of stating only the obvious. There certainly wouldn't be any harm in setting a quota as high as ten though.

Second and third associations for 'debate':

2) Discussions on who will win the tournament
3) The discussions between the TV commentators

Word/concept = fundraising

1) Charity collectors that may be on site
2) 'Sponsorship' - the labels that the players choose to wear
3) The actual raising of funds (for prizemoney etc) by the tournament organisers

Word/concept = teenage years

1) Players that are still teenagers
2) Teenagers in the crowd
3) The 'teenage years' of the actual tournament

Word/concept = "the right tool for the right job"

1) How do the tennis players choose their raquet?
2) How much life is there in an average tennis ball?
3) The technology involved in making the decisions

Word/concept = art gallery

1) Portraits of past winners in the Wimbledon complex
2) The photographs taken by the press at the event
3) The art that the players like to have at home

Word/concept = Sex Pistols

1) The music the players like
2) Famous people in the crowd
3) The 'anarchistic' players (or the players with the most unconventional style)

The word/concept trigger can be used literally or some interpretation can occur. As in the 'Sex Pistols' example above, if I took the word literally I would have to consider perhaps John Lydon's interest in the tournament or if any of the players listen to Sex Pistol's music to motivate themselves etc. If I exercise a degree of interpretation I could perhaps consider which players are considered the biggest rebels or even which players playing in the 70s are still playing in some way today.

Word/concept = wig

1) Players with long hair
2) The effect that hair has on body temperature and thus performance
3) Players that do 'zany' things away from court - play in bands etc

Word/concept = climax

1) The final
2) The winning shot in a match
3) What time the crowd leave

Word/concept = inhaling

1) Exciting games
2) Air quality
3) How the players relax/get motivated in their break

Word/concept = Windows

1) The windows at the tournament venue
2) Viewing distance from court
3) The computers that make decisions

Word/concept = vet

1) Vets in the crowd
2) Veteran players
3) Who are the oldest/youngest players in the tournament?

Word/concept = smoking

1) Players that smoke
2) Where the crowd can smoke if they are smokers
3) Fast serves

An example of directed-association results

As discussed in the Directed-association post, these words/concepts can be used to:

1) act as an alternative to dictionary words when using Edward de Bono's random word technique.

2) suggest possible subjects for further creative effort.

3) act as 'triggers' when profiling a subject.


Earth: planet: atmosphere: ozone layer: finding ozone holes: 'green' pursuit: 'save the planet': plea: 'please don't kill me': siege: Iranian Embassy siege: SAS: army regiment: paras: training: improve fitness: lactic acid: Olympic stadium: lighting Olympic flame: symbol: visual representation: logo: Microsoft: Windows: Windows 98: Office assistant: character: Bugs Bunny: cartoon: 101 Dalmations: film: Oscar awards: ceremony: receiving award: 'sob sob': crying: bereavement: inevitable event: adolescence: acne: teenage years: learning to drive: "I'm afraid you haven't passed": driving instructor: official: police officer: truncheon: weapon: dangerous implement: knife: blade: metal component: screw: screwdriver: tool: "the right tools for the right job": slogan: sentence: words: puns: jokes: humour: laugh: reflex response: kneejerk: doctor: Doctor Crippin: famous murderer: modus operandi: distinctive: habit: facial tic: tourettes syndrome: Kurt Cobain: suicide: suicide hotspot: Samaritans: charity: fundraising: Bob Geldof: Boomtown Rats: 70s group: Sex Pistols: rebellious: disrespecting authority: delinquent: attitude: alienate people: antisocial: smoking: inhaling: Bill Clinton: US president: oath: judge: wig: artificial hair: hair transplant: cosmetic: aesthetic: art: art gallery: John Constable: Haywain: priceless: auction: auctioneer: "going going gone": final word: denoument: climax: World Cup final: teams: trophy: FA Cup: Pickles: dog: vet: euthanasia: debate: parliament: historic building: Tower of London: crown: diamonds: carbon: element: nitrogen: air constituent

Flip-flop Directed-association

About this post

Type of technique:
free association

Technique in a nutshell: choose two from this list: Has/Is/Does/Thing/Person/Time/Place/Activity/Specify/Utterance/^

Say, for example, you choose 'person' and 'place'. Name a person and then name a place associated with that person. Repeat the cycle.

Example: Person = The Queen, Place = Buckingham Palace, Person = Prince Charles, Place = Wales, Person = Tom Jones

Flip-flop Directed-association

Someone commented that the Directed-association technique was complicated and time consuming. In the directed-association post I attempted to cover all the aspects of the technique in one post. There is a flip-flop way to use the technique.

Flip-flop Directed-Association

At the top of a sheet of paper I will write the guide-words:


Then choose any two of the guide-words. For example:


and 'flip-flop' between them. So, for the 'person' part I will answer the directive "Name a person" and I could write:

Person = Clint Eastwood

and 'Clint Eastwood' becomes the focus-word. Then for the 'has' part I will answer the directive "Name something Clint Eastwood has" which could give:

Clint Eastwood has gun

Then 'gun' becomes the focus word. Now for the person part I state a directive "Name a gun person" which could give:

gun person = Lee Harvey Oswald

and Lee Harvey Oswald becomes the focus-word and the directive "Name something that Lee Harvey Oswald has" is answered.

This flip-flop cycle continues between the 'person' and the 'has'. Eventually I could end up with something like this:

Clint Eastwood: gun: Lee Harvey Oswald: conspiracy theory: James Randi: website: Bill Gates: fortune: Sultan of Brunei: escalator* : Otis: lifts: Bruce Willis: Planet Hollywood: Sylvester Stallone: career: Donald Trump: The Apprentice

*apparently the Sutlan of Brunei has an escalator with just two steps in his garden!

Changing the flip-flop words

I can choose two different words from the guide-words for the flip-flopping.


Thing: ^

and continue on from 'The Apprentice' with the directive "Name an Apprentice thing". Which could give:

The Apprentice: competition

and 'competition' becomes the focus-word and the directive "What IS the focus-word? (Step up to concept level)" is set. I try to represent the concept in two or three words, which could give:

competition = dog-eat -dog

With 'dog-eat-dog' as the focus-word (or concept in this case) I form the directive "Name a dog-eat-dog thing" which could give:

Dog-eat-dog thing = evolution

and then continue the flip-flopping between 'thing' and '^' which could give:

Evolution: Darwinian concept: survival of the fittest: characterisitic of life: breathing: lung activity: expanding: increase: exponent: graph

Global Ideas Bank

Times they are a changing over at the Global Ideas Bank. At the moment we're trying to lay down plans for the future development of the bank. Any ideas out there? What do you think of the bank as it stands? What changes would you like to see? I suggested some possibilities for the bank here:

Some suggestions, ideas and possibilities for the Global Ideas Bank

What sort of site should the bank be in ten years' time? Please give us your 'two cents'!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Creative thinking: try lying down

Interesting post from the applied imagination blog:

"Keep that pen and paper by the bed: new research by an ANU PhD graduate suggests it may be that our most creative thoughts come when we’re lying down. Dr Darren Lipnicki, from the School of Psychology in the Faculty of Science at ANU, found that people solved anagrams more quickly when they were lying down compared to standing up. "

Interesting stuff. I like the way these differences can put the odds in your favour when trying to be creative. I wonder what subtle changes will be discovered in the future to aid the creative process? I've heard that a period of very strenuous exercise can lead to an endorphin rush that helps creativity. I've also heard that alternating between a hot sauna and a cold shower works wonders. Meditation also has a case. I wonder what the optimum combination would be?

Jog till you drop
Hot sauna
Cold shower
Hot sauna
Cold shower

The cold shower part means this approach will be put on my 'to put off till a (much) later date' part of my 'to do' list.

A problem in need of a solution

This is a big problem in need of a solution. There may be a simple way to solve the problem using simple technology. The problem is loose horses in jump races. In these races when the jockey is unseated the loose horse often carries on running. This is obviously a problem as the loose horse can hamper other horses and I'm sure the horses is wasting energy that would be better conserved for a later race. Surely there is a simple solution for this problem? Maybe a radio controlled device that pulls the reins or something? Or perhaps there could be a kind of 'dead man's handle' arrangement that pulls the reins when the jockey falls off.

I'm sure there's a great need to devise a strategy that can spot problems like this. A strategy that can pinpoint the problems inherent in every activity in every possible context. I'd like to think about an approach to chase the impossible ideal of 'finding every problem'. This may also help to highlight the 'hidden' problems. In Von Oech's book 'A Whack on the side of the head' he says how important it is to 'look beyond the first right answer'. Perhaps when finding problems the automatic approach of the problem-finder is to 'look for the big problem'.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Publicity stunts for the publicity junkie

People do some pretty weird and amazing stunts, and word of these stunts spreads like wildfire on the net thanks to the distribution of funnies and featuring on blogs (such as BoingBoing).

In this post I said:

I'd like to set up a 'fifteen minutes of fame' blog/website where simple ideas like this are listed and people can adopt the ideas to bring their own fifteen minutes of fame.

I've devised a simple template/method that can be used to dream up daft (and hopefully interesting!) stunts.

The template takes the form:

Ultimate X-ing of X-object.

Stage 1: Name X-object

I will pick a word (for the 'X') by using pangram trigger or taking a word from directed association results. I form a directive "Name X-object" and think of a possibility. So, with "Name car-object" for example, I could name: a tyre.

Stage 2: Ultimate X-ing

Again using pangram trigger or a word from directed association results I form a verb. (Even if the verb is a word that is not in the dictionary.)

Stage 3: Complete template

So, if the verb is 'inflate' I use this to complete the template, giving:

Ultimate inflating of tyre.

Stage 4: Use template to think of idea

Which to me suggests a stunt that would inflate a tyre and keep inflating until it bursts. Mpegs of this could be made and put on a website/blog/email funny etc. The project could be expanded so that any inflatable product could be inflated to the point of 'explosion'. Or...maybe the template could suggest that inflatables could be filled with helium or hydrogen.

More examples

Name household object = fridge
Name X-ing = crushing
Template idea = ultimate crushing of fridge
Idea: household objects such as a fridge could be crushed in one of those machines for crushing cars at junkyards. It would be interesting to see the size of various objects after crushing. (Perhaps a collection of crushed objects could be used to build a 'house'. A house built from crushed fridges...that's the sort of crazy stunt that would end up on BoingBoing (or as a nomination for the Turner Prize.))

Template idea = ultimate positioning of crocodile
Idea = It would be interesting to see the effect the snapping of a crocodile's jaws has on various objects. Perhaps a 'mock up' (a kind of crash test dummy) of a person could be made to see the effect a crocodile attack has.

Template idea = ultimate coming of fishing rod
Idea = Is there a world record for the furthest fishing cast? Perhaps there could be a tournament. (An Olympics for entirely new sports?)

Template idea = ultimate calming of audience
Idea = There are stage hypnotists. What if a stage hypnotist hypnotised the entire audience? Would be interesting to see a room full of people hypnotised to think they are the most important person in the room.

Template idea = ultimate hotting of aqualung
Idea = Heat up an aqualung until it explodes. (There could be a betting shop/website for 'alternative' events where gamblers can gamble on 'alternative' events such as the time of the aqualung explosion.)

Template idea = ultimate soliding of trampoline.
Idea = (I made up the word 'soliding'.) What does this suggest? A solid trampolene would be pretty useless. But could the opposite apply where a trampolene is made even more bouncy than the norm? There could be a 'super trampolene' that, by some means, bounces the person up to a great height.

Template idea = ultimate parting of trampoline
Idea = A row of trampolines could be positioned over a distance (perhaps 100m) and races could be held where the participants race each other by bouncing from one trampoline to the next. (Perhaps another event for the 'Olympics of new sports').

Template idea = ultimate testing of racing pigeon.
Idea = The ultimate race for racing pigeons could be held. The pigeons could be released at an extreme place - such as the North Pole. Bookmakers could be involved. There could be a series of 'ultimate races' for animals and humans.

Template idea = ultimate spacing of printed-circuit board.
Idea = A normal household PC could be expanded to fill a whole room. Perhaps this could be done somewhere like the Tate Modern - the computer would be expanded to fill the whole room and people could walk among the components. Also, there could be 'mile-long computer' where a normal computer would be 'stretched' to be a mile long. There could be a restriction so that the computer is no more than a centimetre thick at any point.

Other thoughts as a result of this approach

The ultimate sign: in some places (often tourist spots) you can see signs that point to prominent places (countries, capital cities etc) and give the distance. An internet version could be done: you would enter your postcode and the site would give you the distance to the world's countries and cities.

From: ultimate sizing of potato. A website could compile a collection of photos of the largest fruits and vegetables. A book such as the Guinness Book of Records could expand onto the internet where there would be a library of photos of superlatives.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Google images...

I have posted more examples of ideas in the Google Images for Creating Ideas post.

Halving/doubling size method

Halving and doubling size

This method is similar to the continuation method, in that it uses images and can lead to interesting creative challenges.

I will imagine a scenario or look at a picture and change the size of one the objects in the picture. I will either double the size of the object of halve the size. Then I will pose the question "How can the object function exactly the same as before even though the size has doubled/halved?".

This would also be a good tool for brainstorming exercises (in groups). It has been widely documented how some folk can be inhibited in brainstorming sessions. With the halving/doubling size method the thought experiment (very much a lateral thinking provocation) is created automatically.

Two examples

Halving the size of a ship's propellor: could lead to considerations of efficiency.

Halving the size of a TV's screen: I recently saw an idea for 360 degree television (the image would be viewable from any angle). The halving/doubling method could help to create challenges such as this.

Continuation...another creative method that uses google images

This is another product of the automatic fiction project. This is quite a simple way to create some interesting creative challenges.

The method uses random google images and I've called this method 'continuation'. To use the method I will look at a random google image and consider how the events in the image could stay exactly as they are if I was looking on the scene in real time. So for example, if the picture showed someone jumping, I would consider how this situation could continue over time - the person would 'float'. Obviously this could be achievable with something like 'levitation shoes' or some other device to make the person 'float'. This continuation method is quite good for creating what could be called 'futuristic' creative challenges.

In one image that showed a couple gardening I 'fast forwarded' the image by ten hours and considered how the situation could be maintained. Obviously in ten hours time it would be night, so the challenge was 'how could you produce light in the middle of the night?'. This reminded me of an idea I've seen considered - that a huge mirror could be positioned in space to provide light to areas that are starved of light. A boon for farming, no doubt. Again this highlights how this approach can create futuristic types of ideas and challenges.

I will experiment further with this approach and report any further thoughts or developments.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A facility on computers to record all on-screen events

My 142nd idea was published on the Global Ideas Bank today:

A facility on computers to record all on-screen events

I really like this idea and, as I say on the idea, I think it would be a great tool for training purposes. I'd be surprised if this idea isn't already in effect in some way. Anyone know?

The Global Ideas Bank is undergoing changes at the moment. Details are on the GIB blog:

Global Ideas Bank Blog