Friday, July 14, 2006

Idea generation: inserting action into actions

This technique has several stages:

1) I consider an action or activity
2) I focus on a specific moment of activity within that activity
3) I imagine that that moment of activity is, in some way, extended to last an hour (without having any detrimental effects or reducing the effectiveness of the action)
4) I insert actions - momentary actions or ones of longer duration - into that hour's activity

Example

For this example -- and the first stage -- I'm choosing the action of: an acupuncture session. For the second stage -- the moment of activity -- I choose: the moment the needle has first penetrated the skin.

For the third stage, I extend what would be a momentary action -- the first penetration of the needle -- to an hour's duration. I imagine in my mind that that stage occurs over an hour, without having any detrimental effects or reducing the effectiveness of the action.

I find that this time-expansion approach helps to open-up the mind for options for development, and helps the focusing on an action that would perhaps be considered insignificant.

Stage four

The fourth stage is the creative stage. At this stage I create/insert actions into the hour's action. The template for the creative directive is:

Create X (time)

For the 'time' I either specify a duration of time or use a word to represent a time.

Create X moment
Create X 10 minutes
Create X half-hour

I can also specify a duration that is longer than an hour:

Create X afternoon
Create X era
etc

For the 'X' I pick a random word (or phrase, term etc) to have an adjectival function. So with the random word "dream" my final creative directive could read:

Create a dream ten minutes (within the hour of the penetration of the needle)

Immediately this suggests that, as the needle penetrates, the person would go to sleep. An assumption has been uncovered that patient is awake during acupuncture. Further questions are raised: could an acupuncture session been administered on someone who sleeps through the whole session?

More examples using the acupuncture moment

Using: create X moment (within the hour of the penetration of the needle).

Create stowaway moment
First thought: this to me suggests that the blood would rise ('stowaway') into the needle. Consequences: this would cause the temperature of the needle to rise. Which leads to: would there be any benefits from heating the needles before use? (Indeed, there would. I did some preliminary research and found that heating the needles is a known AP practice)

Create connect moment
First thought: the needle could be attached in some way to all the other needles being used in the session. Benefits? This arrangement could be used to measure the patient's GSR. The practitioner would know if the patient was finding the situation stressful. Which leads to: are there other stressful situations where feedback could alert the practitioner and help them to reassure the patient? Perhaps in a dentist's surgery a patient could be connected to a device to show their heart rate. Or, for a driving test the use of a heart-rate device would prevent the need for any pretence about not showing nerves.

Create swimming moment
First thought: What if the needle actually went all the way into the body so that the whole of the needle was below the skin? Which leads to: would it be possible to find an arrangement that would safely allow the patient to leave a needle in for extended periods? Would that have benefits?

Create seconds out moment
First thought: how would it be possible for the practitioner to withdraw a needle at a constant rate over say, ten seconds? Could a device achieve this? Perhaps a device could be created for 'slow injections': the device would take an hour to penetrate the skin. Systematic desensitization for people with phobias of needles?
Also: would there be any benefit in repeatedly entering the needle and removing it? Could the needle be kept moving for the duration of the session?

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