Friday, August 05, 2005

Current meanderings of an undisciplined mind

AKA 'stuff I am working on and thinking about at the moment'.

Yes, my mind is meandering about at the moment but I'm having some interesting thoughts.

Defective/augmented perception

I've been thinking about the techniques that use google images - such as peripheral viewing and the er, 'other' technique (I haven't thought of a name for it). I've mentioned before how I am interested in making idea-generating strategies become a by-product of something else, whether that something else is a strategy, sytem, theory or whatever. On that thought I've concluded that these methods (or the ideas generated by the methods) could be a by-product of a defective (or maybe augmented) eye. With peripheral viewing the approach would be the by-product of an eye with a defect that prevented the person seeing directly in front of them (I realise there is a medical condition like this but I don't know the name). The shade-spotting of the object spotting/changing perspective method would be the product of an eye that could only see one colour. The changing perspective could be the product of an eye with no depth perception.

I've expanded on the idea. A creative 'superhuman' could have hundreds of eyes, each with a different defect or augmented feature that would make them more creative. Expanding on the idea more there could be a person who has each sense altered so that they perceive the world in a particular way and thus become more creative. In a Far Side cartoon (by Gary Larson) there is a cartoon with two characters drawn in different detail. The first character is drawn in great detail - like the detail used in modern adventure marvel-type comics - and the second character is just a simple stick figure. What would the world look like to a person who had an eye that could only see the world in 'stick man' detail?

Maybe this approach will yield results...maybe it won't but I'll leave it there as a thought experiment. Which brings me to...

Growing up in public

I've been thinking about the development of this blog. In particular what to do with old posts when ideas/methods are improved? Should the post be removed? Should the post be altered? Or should an improved version of the post be published? I like the idea of 'growing up in public'. That is, all posts would remain as they are and any improvements would be made in new posts. That way the blog would sort of chronicle my creative development and I would be able to see how my thoughts evolve over time.

Why didn't I think of that before?

I've added this to the What was the last idea? post. Every idea I have makes me wonder why I didn't think of it before. De Bono has said that every idea is obvious with hindsight. I always tell myself that a good idea is reachable in different ways and I wonder if a more effective creativity technique would have created the idea. I've been thinking about a 'convoluted path to an idea' where I would write down an idea and construct a 'thought path' to that idea - a kind of artificial representation of how the idea was reached. My hope is that the convoluted path will suggest further ideas.

The idea would also work with a creative focus. I would construct a convoluted route to a specific focus. This would provide more focuses. I was reading Min Basadur's Simplex book. He discussed a problem where a car manufacturer wanted to be able to have three tiers on their train transport vehicle as, obviously, they would be able to transport a greater quantity of cars. The problem that was stopping three-tier trains was low bridges on the route. On closer inspection they found out that only two bridges were low enough to prevent three-tier carriages. So (I guess) the solution was to replace the bridges with higher bridges. The solution to the problem came from an exercise in assumption-challenging. I'm interested in how solutions can be reached by other means. In particular, I'm interested in 'magical' solutions. Michael Michalko's Cracking Creativity book advises someone with a creative problem to ask "how would superman solve this problem?". Superman is just one possible 'magical' solution. How many other magical solutions could be constructed? Maybe the bridge problem could have been solved not by assumption-challenging, but by creating numerous 'magical' solutions and working back to the problem.

'Real world' creativity and writing fiction

I've been developing the 'fiction game' with the aim of making writing fiction more systematic. I'm always wondering at what point does 'real world' creativity overlap with writing fiction? So far my creativity approaches for creating ideas (particularly the social inventions) and my approaches for writing fiction have been different but in the long term I'm hoping they will merge and form a single system. At the moment I'm experimenting with short stories and stopping at certain points to create 'real world' ideas.

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