I've been experimenting with this 'must commentary' approach to creativity. I'm posting to see if anyone can bounce back any thoughts or ideas.
The must commentary
With this approach, I consider an activity - such as posting a Christmas card through someone's door - and run through the stages visually in my mind. As I go, I apply a 'commentary' in the format:
I have to...
So with the activity of posting a Christmas card the commentary could read:
1) I have to watch out for cars
2) I have to cross the road
3) I have to walk down the pavement
4) I have to spot my friend's house
5) I have to open the gate
6) I have to walk up the pathway
7) I have to open the letter box
8) I have to push the letter in
9) I have to walk down the pathway
10) I have to close the gate
I can also consider the ultimate outcome of all these actions: my friend gets a Christmas card.
At the next stage I consider how I could still achieve my objective if one of the stages were prohibited. So if action 6: walk up the pathway is prohibited how can I achieve the next stage - section 7 - of opening the letter box? Or alternatively, is action 6 is prohibited, how will I achieve the final outcome: my friend receives a Christmas card?
So far I've found that experiment with this technique can be very thought provoking and stimulating. The considerations from the above scenario actually led to a concrete idea I submitted to the Global Ideas Bank:
A person in each street to take in parcel deliveries
Refining the commentaries
Something I want to look into soon is refining the commentaries. So with the Christmas card example I could create a 'hand must commentary' where I would state the mandatory actions of my hand during the posting of the card. There are obviously endless possibilities for developing this approach.