Thursday, March 31, 2005

A Short History of Nearly Everything

I’ve started reading Bill Bryson’s book A Short History of Nearly Everything. I got to thinking about what Bill Bryson’s brief could have been for this book. Most probably it was (surprise surprise) “Write a short history of nearly everything”. However, I wanted to consider an alternative way of stating a brief for the book: how I could re-represent the brief in a single succinct way that would both summarise the purpose of the book and form a simple kernel that would suggest further areas to be researched and discussed (in a kind of snowballing effect).

I considered that one possible re-representation of the brief would lead to the consideration that the book, essentially, is about the multiple beginnings and endings of a person. The assumption I would’ve made is that there is one beginning for a person and one end (birth and death). Considering the multiple beginnings and endings of a person seems to work:

Beginnings

The first beginning for the person is birth. Before that is conception. Then we have the birth of all his ancestors. We have the formation of his home – planet earth. The formation of the elements. The formation of the compounds. The formation of the solar system. The first beginning is the big bang (although that is obviously open to some debate).

Endings

The first ending is death. We have the decay of the body and body parts. The breakdown of the body parts into constituent parts – DNA, cells, etc. The breakdown of those parts into molecules. The dissipation of the molecules and atoms. The eventual destruction of the molecules. The ultimate ending is the end of the world and later the universe.

The key point is that each of these focuses above can lead to the generation of more focuses for consideration and discussion. The writer could take any one of these subjects and apply the multiple beginnings and endings approach once again. From a simple brief – the multiple beginnings and endings of a person - the writer could experience an explosion of possibilities.

I will consider how the multiple beginnings and endings approach can be used to re-represent other challenges.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Kismet: psychic healers, magic aerosols and non-lethal weapons

About this post

Post in a nutshell: consider a subject (such as a baby). Consider a characteristic of that subject (such as they baby's strength). Consider how the degree of that characteristic will change over time (the baby's strength will increase as it matures) and apply that degree change to the original subject. So, with this example you are left with a very strong baby!


Take these three ideas:

(From the film Green Mile) A psychic man who heals people with his powers
(From the Two Ronnies) An aerosol that, when sprayed on someone, makes them invisible
(From The Amazing Future book) A non-lethal weapon that makes the target suffer from nausea or diarrhoea

Looking at the first example, I got to thinking how Stephen King could have thought of the concept of a healer. Obviously the concept of healing people (by psychic means) is nothing new and if Stephen King was using a dictionary for random-word input he could have found the entry for ‘healer’. However, if the concept of psychic-healing did not exist how could Stephen King have invented the concept? As part of my project for ‘automatic fiction’ I invented the ‘kismet’ tool.

Kismet tool

Use of kismet presupposes that the ‘passage’ of the kismet target (or the passage of a characteristic of the kismet target) is predetermined. There are two kinds of kismet: rewind-kismet and fastforward-kismet. The rewind-kismet tool rewinds the target (or target’s characteristic) to its state/level/condition at some specified time during the past. The fastforward-kismet fastforwards the target/characteristic to its state/level/condition at a specified time in the (predetermined) future. In the case of John Coffey – the healer from Green Mile – it could be said:

John Coffey kismet-rewinds the target’s health to its state/level/condition two years ago

Thus the target is cured. This kismet representation could also be considered as an alternative definition. Thus:

Healing = kismet-rewinding a target’s health to its state/level/condition two years ago.

The Two Ronnies magic aerosol

In a Two Ronnies sketch, Ronnie Corbett plays a character who has invented an aerosol that, when sprayed onto a target, makes them invisible.

In kismet terms, this could be represented as:

The aerosol kismet-rewinds the target’s size to ten-minutes-after-conception size

Which - although not directly making the target invisible - has the same visual effect.

Non-lethal weapon

In the Amazing Future book, a non-lethal weapon is described that makes the target suffer from nausea and diarrhoea.

In kismet terms this could be:

The weapon kismet-rewinds the target’s blood levels to childhood levels.

Which would cause nausea. Or:

The weapon kismet-fastfowards the target’s stomach’s contents to its condition in two days' time

(When it would be faecal matter on a sewage farm.)

Which would cause diarrhoea.

Nice ;)

Kismet operators

The operator of kismet can be anything – a person, object, machine etc. The Amazing Future book discusses a machine that would create artificial waves (presumably for surfers).Expressed in kismet terms this is:

Machine kismet-rewinds sea’s roughness to X (date) levels

The fish’s ‘rucksack’

The Amazing Future book discusses an invention – a ‘rucksack’ that is attached to fish and uses electric shocks to guide them in a certain direction. In kismet terms:

The rucksack kismet-rewinds a fish’s position to its position ten minutes ago

It is worth considering if the target/condition REMAINS at the state/level/condition it was/will be in at the time, or if it continues to progress as it did/will through time. So in the case of the healer John Coffey it is worth considering if the person’s health level remains constant at the level it was two years ago, or if the level of health proceeds as it did from two years ago (with the sad side effect that the sick person will succumb to their ailment once again in two years' time).

Some new examples

Ways that healer John Coffey could have used kismet:

Kismet-rewind target’s skin surface-area to childhood levels…resulting in a ‘popping out of their skin’ effect. (Horror movie territory that.)

Kismet-rewind target’s lung size to pre-birth size…resulting in either an asthmatic effect, or if the kismet rewound the lungs to ten-minutes-after-conception size then the target would suffocate.

Kismet-fastforward target to his state two years in the future…thus the target would know events two years into the future. (Perhaps, as a consequence, the target would then either be perceived as a prophet/psychic or as a time traveller.)

Kismet-rewind target’s brain functioning to two-months-before-birth level…thus the target would, as a result, go into a kind of vegetative state (in fact, exactly what happened to the character Percy in Green Mile as a result of John Coffey's powers).

Kismet-rewind a person’s hunger to its level eight months before birth…thus (if the hunger level progresses as it did eight months before birth) the character would not need to eat for eight months.

Conclusion

It’s clear that concepts that appear to be quite complex and unique (and ‘hard to create’) can be quite accessible by use of the kismet tool. It’s a useful tool for creating thoughts experiments (or the provocations of lateral thinking). It can suggest goals - in the case of the fish's rucksack, the kismet operation could have led to the creative challenge: "how can we control the direction of a fish?". It can also be used to redefine inventions in kismet terms, which can lead to viewing the idea from a different perspective.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Creating ideas by striving to reach the 'impossible ideal' of 'exhaustive information available universally'

I have been using the "'impossible ideal' of 'exhaustive information available universally'" as an approach to creativity for a number of years.

Using the approach

When using the approach I will start by choosing a subject for attention (such as a fire engine, an electricity meter etc). Then I will consider how the subject could display an exhaustive amount of information about itself. The impossible ideal is that the subject would display EVERY fact about itself possible (even information on the periphery of relevance). I find that on the 'journey' to 'reaching' this impossible ideal I will discover many ideas. I have found that a 'list exhaustive information' mentality helps expand the mind to look for possibilities.

At the next stage I will consider how that information (or a selected piece of information) could be displayed universally. The impossible ideal here is that the information would be available at EVERY part/place of the world (or perhaps even universe). Again, I have found this ideal helps expand the mind to look for possibilities. At first I will consider how the information could be displayed in the close proximity of the subject. This led to the idea of a

Visible display to show rate of electricity use

I will then go to the extreme of considering that the information could be displayed in the sky or in space. This led to the idea of

999 ambulance centres alert first-aiders near accident scene

Further points

Sometimes one of the stages (the listing of information or making information universal) used alone is enough to trigger ideas.

Often I will choose a subject that is known to display information - such as official forms or notices, websites etc.

Examples of ideas created with this approach

Computer error messages contain links to website

A webpage for each news programme providing explanations/definitions

Email/Text alerts for astronomical phenomena

A webpage for each rail station in cities

Local Crimewatch - e-mailed pictures of people wanted locally

A centralised database of war memorials

A website directory of all the second hand books for sale in libraries

Visible display to show rate of electricity use

999 ambulance centres alert first-aiders near accident scene

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Ideas from our amazing future...

I've been perusing the 'Guiness Amazing Future' book. What is quickly apparent is that it doesn't take any technical knowledge to recognise the value of the ideas on show. I would like to think that if no specialist knowledge is required to acknowledge the value of a particular idea/concept then no specialist knowledge should be required to create the concepts. However I expect most people would not begin to attempt devising concepts like these because they assume creating such concepts is the preserve of specialists.

Here is a selection of some of my favourite ideas and thoughts from the book:

Ideas

A magnet that can detect weaknesses in steel
A cow that produces milk that treats cystic fibrosis
A gel that dissolves teeth (an alternative to the drill)
Headless bodies that provide organs
An acoustic weapon that vibrates internal organs inducing vomiting and diarrhoea
A smart gun usuable only by the officer that owns it
Bananas that are a hepatitis vaccine
Green beans that taste like baked beans
A food package that changes colour if the food is contaminated
A computer that can recognise products by their smell
An artifical wave
A satellite that tracks endangered eagles
A fish 'rucksack' that shocks the fish to direct them
A 360 degree TV that, when viewed from any angle, still projects a flat image

Thoughts

Children inherit intelligence from their mother and characteristics from their father
Epileptics are more likely to be religious

Various Ideas

Product

Projection clocks: would consist of a small projection device that projects an image of a famous clock onto a wall. The image would show the correct time. (I'm thinking specifically of the Big Ben clock tower). I think they would be popular on New Year's Eve.

TV programme ideas

Supertrain your dog: would train domestic pets to try to reach the level reached by dogs in the Crufts obedience tests.

Battle of the supergroups: A supergroup for each decade - 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s - would be formed with stars from that era. Each group would release a single (a pastiche or cover) from their era and the one with highest sales figures wins.

A crop circle competition: an expanse of artifical corn would be open to the crop-circlers. The most complex circle wins.

One-off remakes of classic programmes: programmes such as 'Dixon of Dock Green' or 'Z cars' would return in one-offs.

Social invention

'Natural zones' in parks: an area in each park would be fenced off and left to nature.

A 'happiness test' in every census to highlight the wellbeing of the nation.

Websites

The 'A to Z of everything' website: For example, A to Z of every British car, tree, programme, Royal Family member, politician etc.

A website with the first ten pages of every book in print.

The music timeline: would chronicle all the phases in music (Rock 'n' Roll, Punk, Ska etc) and the formation dates and split dates of all groups.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Experiments in the day: source of words

The crosswordbuddy tool can be used to find words that end with the same letters. This makes it a great source for lists of actions and adjectives that can be used to form 'Experiments in the day'.

To use crosswordbuddy you simply type the final letters of the word, select 'this is the end of the word' and then crosswordbuddy finds all the dictionary listings with that ending.

Actions: words ending with: ING

Adjectives: words ending with: ABLE, AL, AR, ED, ENT, ESQUE, FUL, ING, IBLE, IC, ICAL, ISH, IVE, LESS, LIKE, OUS, SOME, WORTHY, PROOF, EN, LY, Y

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Experiments in the day

About this post

Type of technique: generator of thought/action experiments

Technique in a nutshell: make a list of your activities in a typical day (or atypical day, perhaps). Consider what changes would occur if you had to do each activity in half the time, and also double the time. Then consider what changes would occur if you had to do each activity over only half the space, and also double the space. You can also increase or decrease the degree of one of the activity's characteristics.

Example: if the activity is reading in a bookshop, and your activity time is doubled and you also cover double the space then this could result in considering the possibility of trying new books. If you reduce the degree of your carefulness while in the bookshop, this could lead to a consideration such as picking a book totally at random and opting to read it from cover to cover.


Many writings on creativity advocate doing what could be called 'experiments in the day' - thought/action experiments that aim to break out of routines and generally nurture a creative attitude and spirit. The one I've seen most widely is: try taking a different route to work.

More examples of typical 'experiments in the day':

Take a walk in the middle of the night.
Have a conversation with someone you don't normally converse with
Stay up all night and watch the sunrise
Try eating at a different restaurant
Borrow a book from the library you wouldn't normally consider reading

There are many references, books etc where these EITD are suggested. I've devised a systematic approach to devising EITDs.


1) List actions
2) Consider how each action is undertaken in a typical day
3) Describe the action by degree
4) Increase/Decrease the degree

1) Listing Actions

I use a random-word trigger to form the list of actions. To do this I write a pangram:

the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dogs

Then pick two random letters from the pangram and list both short words (of one syllable), longer words, and finally the longest words I can think of with the trigger letters. I write the words as actions by adding 'ing'.

Eg: Random letters P and L could give:

One syllable: planning, planing, pleasing, pulling, pleating, peeling, ploughing etc
Longer: pulverising, polishing, pillaging, plastering etc

I can choose more random letter couplets and form words and repeat the process until I have a list of actions.Then I can select the actions that will probably occur in a day:

Walking, Sleeping, Eating, Reading, Writing, Exercising, Chatting, Playing, Worrying, Drawing, Spending, Storing etc.

2) Consider how each action is undertaken in a typical day

I try to think of at least five times when each behaviour occurs in each day. So:

Walking downstairs in the morning
Walking the dogs
Walking to the newsagent
Walking into town
Walking into the library

Reading the news on teletext
Reading emails
Reading the paper
Reading a book at the library
Reading the TV schedule

etc

3) Describe the action by degree

I will form a descriptive adjective to state the degree of one of the actions. So, I will use the random-word pangram technique again to form five descriptive adjectives for the action. This is in answer to the question: "How X is it?"

For 'reading a book at the library' and from the trigger letters 'P' and 'L'

I can ask: how pleasant is it? How palatial is it? etc

4) Increase/Decrease the degree

For 'Reading a book at the library' I can list the descriptive adjectives and then increase/decrease their degree and see if any EITDs are suggested:

More/less pleasant
More/less palatial
More/less interesting
More/less demanding
More/less solitary

etc

I've found that the following two descriptive adjectives - broad and long - often lead to good EITDs when their degree is increased or decreased. These are from the questions:

How broad is it? (How much area does the action cover?)
How long is it? (What is the duration of the action?)

Applied to the library example, my visit to the library can be more broad(covering a wider area) - thus I'll consider looking at other books in the library I wouldn't normally read or I'll consider looking at areas of the library I wouldn't normally visit. Considering a longer stay at the library can lead to similar ideas.

The descriptive adjective 'palatial' in answer to the question "How palatial is my book reading?' could lead to thoughts on improving the library environment. Perhaps I could donate plants or books etc.

Resources:

Making creativity a tool for the everyday

Roger Von Oech's CreativeThink 'whacks'

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ten ideas for the Olympics

Star of the games
At the end of the Olympics all competitors could vote the person they think is 'star of the games'. This person would win a gold medal. (There could be silver and bronze too)

Alternative 'fair' medal table adjusted to show each country's ratio of competitors to medals

Team gold medal for the most succesful country

Instead of having unused spare lanes, auction off the free lane so that the highest bidder can participate. Funds raised go to charity

Every item of equipment (and maybe article of clothing) pooled onto a single page on eBay and auctioned off for a charity project(s) after the Olympics

A second 'tier' of Olympics events that are held by smaller countries (who are unable to afford the entire event)

Olympic flag has sixth ring to represent the Paralympics

International public vote to choose host of Olympics

Public vote to choose new sports

A laser projected onto tracks to show record-breaking pace

Vocabulary conversion

Eroteme told me about this interesting Wordcount site. The site counts the top 86800 English words and lists them in frequency of use.

I've been thinking for some time that there could be a systematic means to convert the vocabulary in any article (or any written piece) to a simpler level. For example, an article with a word such as 'quotidian' (rated 71479 on Wordcount) would be converted: 'quotidian' would be defined (or replaced with a synonym) using only words from the top 10000 of Wordcount.

Thus 'quotidian' = on-a-daily-basis

('on' rated at 13
'a' rated at 5
'daily' rated at 1350
'basis' rated at 683)

The user could opt for the conversion to use only words from the first 10000 words from Wordcount, or 20000 etc.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Leonardo da Vinci technique

I've been reading about a creativity technique Leonardo da Vinci used. Cracking Creativity by Michael Michalko describes how da Vinci would look at stains on walls, patterns in mud etc and imagine seeing battles and figures within the random patterns. Sometimes he would even fill a sponge with paint and throw it at a wall to see what the patterns suggest.

I devised an equivalent for 2005 using my PC's Paint accessory: I will search for some random google images and select one image (often a complex image with many colours). I will copy and paste the image into Paint and then go into Image Attributes and change the image to black & white. Then I go to Image and Invert Colours. I can select areas of the image to find inspiration or select specific areas with the Magnifying Glass tool.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Cloning Aspects: a simple technique for generating new ideas

I have been using this technique - 'Cloning Aspects' productively for a number of years.

Introduction to Cloning Aspects

When I use this technique I start by choosing a focus (a thing/subject etc), then pick an aspect of the focus subject (usually a tangible component), then create multiple 'clones' of the aspect, and finally - in the creative phase - make each clone unique (often by giving each clone a unique function or purpose).

Examples of Ideas made up using Cloning Aspects technique

The following ideas (all published on the Global Ideas Bank) have been created with the technique:

A section of seats in TV studio audiences auctioned for charity projects

Small charity donations possible when cash point is used

A quick-stop parking meter in each street

Speed cameras to check whether seatbelts worn

A laser projected onto tracks to show record-breaking pace

Olympic flag has sixth ring to represent the Paralympics

Advertising on bank notes to raise money for charities

A webpage for every prescription drug for information and patient discussions

Lottery entry slips - tick box for 10% to charity

Bibliographies in works of fiction to show author's influences

A webpage for each library book

Four stages of Cloning Aspects

There are four stages I apply when Cloning Aspects:

1) Choosing a focus - this should almost certainly be something tangible (and of any size). For example: a shop, a credit card, a bank note, a library, a sports stadium etc

2) Picking an aspect of the focus subject: again this should – ideally - be a tangible component of the focus subject. For example:

With the focus subject a shop, possible aspects could be:

The till
The floor
The front window
The sign
The shelves
etc

3) Multiplying the aspect so that there are a number of clones of the aspect.

I will vary the numbers of clones. So with the focus subject, for example 'a bank' and the aspect 'the cashpoint machine' I may visualise:

a) 10 cashpoint machine clones (or some other quantity)
b) Enough cash machine clones to fill a specified space (eg: a mile of cash machines)
or
c) An infinite row of cash machines

I don’t worry about impossibilities or impracticalities: as I visualise a mile of cash machines I don't counter this with objections such as 'the rent would be extra' or 'that would form an obstacle' etc.

(Anyone familiar with the writings of de Bono will recognise how the attitude needed when visualising the clones is similar to that required when using the lateral thinking provocations - an attitude of 'deferring judgement' can be helpful)

Sometimes I will imagine all the clones occupying the same space as the original aspect. This is almost as though the clones are 'superimposed' over the original aspect. (I sometimes refer to this as 'tardis space'!)

Those who have used Mind maps will know Tony Buzan's rule that "Mind maps expand to fill the space available". When Cloning Aspects, it is almost as though the ideas create themselves to fill the clones available. The technique does seem to expand the mind and open it to possibilities. Sometimes I get ideas from cloning the aspects before I have even attempted to create anything new.

4) Creating new ideas

At this stage I consider the clones and think about how each could have its own individual function or purpose (or even the usual purpose but with a slight nuance). Sometimes I will 'group' the clones, so that out of a row of a hundred clone cash machines I will visualise a group of five and consider how they could all have a unique function or purpose. I use a random word to act as a qualifier for the clone. So, for example, in the case of the cash machine I could say:

Clone five is a 'charity clone'

which could suggest that that particular cash machine could be involved in some form of charity donation or project. This led to this idea:

Small charity donations possible when cash point is used

The formation of random words

I use a fairly idiosyncratic method to finding random words. Others may find this method useful.

I use a pangram such as:

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dogs

and I select two random letters. Then I try to think of a selection of words 'triggered' by the two letters. At first I will try to think of the shortest words I can, then proceed to words with two syllables or more.

For example, the two letters 'r' and 'c' could give:

Rock, Rack, Rook, Race
Reckon, Raccoon, Rocket, Rocker, Recent, Reclaim,
Recalcitrant, Reckoning, Rococo etc

Then I pick one to use as the qualifier and precede the clone with that word:

Reckoning-cash machine

and use that as a trigger for new ideas, as with random word stimulation.

Cloning Space Variation

The cloning space variation has been a very productive way of using the technique. To clone space I simply choose an object (such as a bank note) and multiply a chosen blank space to form clone blank-spaces. (This has resulted in a visualised bank note of about two metres in length!) Then I create a function/purpose for each space.

The cloning space variation led to this idea:

Advertising on bank notes to raise money for charities

Examples of ideas and how Cloning Aspects was used to create them

Lottery entry slips - tick box for 10% to charity

With this idea I cloned space so that the (visualised) lottery ticket was about a metre long. Then I considered how each individual centimetre of that metre could be used. I chose a random word and imagined how that word could be a heading for each centimetre and how that centimetre would have a function that reflected that word. Eventually this led to the idea of having a tick box for ten-percent of winnings to charity.

A quick-stop parking meter in each street

With this I visualised a street and picked the parking meters as the aspect. Then I imagined hundreds of parking meters and considered the different functions they could have. The qualifying random word "speed" led to this idea.

A laser projected onto running tracks to show record-breaking pace

With this I visualised an athletics running track with its white lines used to separate the runners. I picked a single white line as the aspect and visualised 100 clones of the line. The qualifier 'laser' led to the idea. (Since the idea was published on the Global Ideas Bank the TV coverage of the 2004 Olympics superimposed a line onto the swimming pool events to show record pace, and recently I saw an athletics meeting where a sequence of lights lined the track to show record pace)

Bibliographies in works of fiction to show author's influences

and

A webpage for each library book

Both ideas resulted from cloning the unused blank page (often at the end of many books) and considering a function for each of these pages.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Mega Forums?

I've been visiting a few creativity forums and discussion boards lately. Unfortunately they are often rather quiet. Shame. I'm wondering if it would be possible to form a composite forum where all the posts from the creativity forums on the internet would be listed in one place. Feasible?

Obviously the idea could apply to other forum topics, such as sport, but it's usually the specialist interest forums that suffer the most.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Mnemonics and creativity

I made up this mnemonic to help me remember Kipling's six "'honest serving men" (What, Who, When, Where, Why, How); as five of them start with 'W' I thought it would be easier if the mnemonic is based on the last letters of the W words.

Thus the mnemonic is:

TONEY H

The TONEY part is the last letter of the W words, so putting a W as a prefix should jog the memory:

W + T = What
W + O = Who
W + N = When
W + E = Where
W + Y = Why

and odd-man-out is H, which is for 'How'.

What other mnemonics linked to creativity are there, and what new ones could be made up? There is SCAMPERR but I think one is needed for the de Bono's 'Six Thinking Hats' - I'm always struggling to remember the function of each hat.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Conversations with a time traveller

I know that many times I've imagined what it would be like to time travel fifty years into the past and spend a week in 1955. Would I share the inventions and ideas I know from the year 2005? On a similar note I've been thinking what it would be like to meet someone who has travelled fifty years into the future, spent a week in 2055 and then returned. What questions would I ask on their return? What changes could have happened in the year 2055? Trying to guess what ideas and insights the traveller would share is - for me - an alternative entry-point for creative thinking. It is, in effect, a kind of 'rebranding' of creativity.

What other entry-points for creativity and ways to rebrand it are possible?

The 'Grand Unified System' of Creativity Techniques?

There's a very useful list of creativity techniques over at Mycoted. One approach to utilising these creativity techniques is to learn each technique so that the creative effectively has a 'bag of tools'. I'm wondering if there could be an alternative approach: to devise a single system/process that would make the techniques' outcomes an automatic by-product of a single system. Work in progress...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Creax Creativity Test

I've just completed a creativity test at the Creax creativity portal. A typical score is 61.41 and I scored 63.65

Creativity tests prompt similar questions and debates to those of intelligence tests: is creativity measurable or is it even definable? Visitors to this blog may like to take the test and report their findings...

The new Olympic sport

My 131st idea was published on the Global Ideas Bank. today. The simple idea suggests that the UK Olympics committee should hold a public vote to choose the new sport if they win the race to hold the Olympics. It's a shame I didn't think of this some time ago: I could have contact the UK Olympics panel and suggested they hold the vote to prove the level of public interest in the UK bid.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Emulating a role-model rather than choosing a career title

I had this idea published on the Global Ideas Bank and it keeps popping into my mind:

Careers choices - choosing 'emulation' rather than a career title

The Problem:
Finding a career

The Social Invention:
When students/job hunters are looking for a career, the emphasis is usually on picking the job from a list of job titles.

A different approach to help finding the ideal career would be by 'emulation' :to pick someone and consider what steps would be needed to emulate this person EXACTLY.
The student could even consider what steps would be need to be taken to become an 'imposter' of this person.

With this in mind, the student would have to think creatively.

A comprehensive (exhaustive) list of people would be made initally and various could be picked at random, and some considerationg could be made of how the emulation would be made.
This method could provide inspiration in two ways:

The student may find that they would like to emulate this person as much as possible and thus the career of this person is the ideal career choice for them.

They may find that one of the steps needed to complete the emulation would be so interesting that this is an area that would suit them as a career.

It would be important that the job seeker includes as many people as possible in the list - some can even be bizarre. It would also be important that the job seeker thinks carefully and thoroughly about how the emulation could be completed.

Thoughts...7th March 2005

TV concepts
I've been thinking that this kind of emulation could be applied to devise concepts for television shows. The creative could select a group of three people and then, selecting one person at a time, could consider how that person could emulate the other two. On the 'journey' to total emulation they could pick-off concepts for TV shows. I will try this when time is being kinder...

Any thoughts?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Far Side World

I'm a big fan of Gary Larsons' Far Side. I'm devising a system to create Far Side style cartoons: there would be a sister planet of planet Earth that would be 'Far Side World' that exists in the spirit of Far Side cartoons. Sometimes funny and absurd things would happen and sometimes 'normal' things would happen. The creative/cartoonist would be able to 'pick off' the funny events and make Larson-style cartoons from them.

The project would be good for any creative brainstormer, as the absurdity and surrelism of events would allow them to be more comfortable with absurdity - such as the absurdity and deferral of judgement required when making a provocation advocated by de Bono's lateral thinking provocation method.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Crazy letters: website and book idea

A recent anniversary edition of Fortean Times compiled the craziest letters they have received. It was hilarious. I'd like to start a website where organisations, publications, newspapers etc. can send the (insert superlative of choice here) letters they have received. Would make an interesting read. (Obviously names would be changed to protect the innocent...)

Honesty and the Diary of a Nobody

How honest can someone be? Is 100 percent honesty possible or desirable? I reckon that most people's idea of '100 percent honesty' simple means a socially appropriate level of honesty. But I think honesty could be taken much further than that and even go 'beneath the skin'. A well known book is the 'Diary of a nobody'. I'd like to see an updated equivalent working through the internet where someone is attached to every measuring device imaginable for a week . We would know their current heart rate, stress levels (through GSR) and through attachment to a lie detector we would even be able to see if they are lying. That would make an interesting TV programme.