Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Optician Project: The Grid Technique

FreeFoto.comI'm an optician and I'm about to do a project: I'll leave my premises to put advertising leaflets on the windscreens of local cars. I have hired a temp to help me distribute the leaflets. We have fifty leaflets each to distribute.

The grid technique is a simple technique for creating ideas for objects (and also for places and people). To use this technique I mentally superimpose a grid onto an object (or place or person) and create ideas for:

A specific square on the grid
Any square
All the squares

The creative directive

I set a creative directive in the format:

Create X square/area

and choose a random word for my X.

A leaflet from the Optician Project

Here's a leaflet from the leaflet distribution with a grid superimposed:

I want to create ideas for a specific square (but remain mindful of the option to create for any other square, or all squares). With the random word "exit", my directive reads:

Create exit square/area for the leaflet

At this point I want to create ideas quickly; they don't have to be great -- the important point is to guarantee newness. As discussed in the modified creating post I can either try to create an idea in five to ten seconds, or set a quota -- say, five ideas in a minute.

Exit square/area:

Idea 1) The leaflet has a square with details on how the customer can exit the shop
Idea 2) The leaflet has a square with details on how long an eye test takes: how long till the customers exits
Idea 3) The leaflet has a square that can "exit" the rest of the leaflet: it's detachable
Idea 4) One square says "This is the last part of the leaflet you should read"
Idea 5) One square says "We won't let you exit the shop until you are satisfied"

Developing an idea into a useful idea

I created an interesting idea from idea 1. I wanted to make exit the focus-word, so I restructured the sentence so that exit was the last word:

The leaflet has a square/area with details on how the shop's customers can exit

I decided to seek an alternative to exit (as discussed here) but immediately thought of an idea before I'd begun searching: the leaflet -- in addition to address details -- could provide other information to help customers find the shop:

Also, I can use the sentence:

The leaflet has a square/area with details on how the shop's customers can exit

to generate more ideas. I can list alternatives to exit:

The leaflet has a square/area with details on how the shop's customers can exit
pay, choose glasses, recycle or dispose of old glasses, switch from glasses to contact lenses, use contact lenses for a trial period, bring their children for testing, find the right product, contact us, park their car, book appointments,

More ideas

Create cut square/area.
Put key information on one part of the leaflet that can be cut out and kept.

Create Pluto square/area
Reclassify my job title. Instead of calling myself "optician" call myself "optical technician".

Create difference square/area.
Provide statistics on how long it takes an eye to become different -- how long it takes for a lenses prescription to become out of date. In fact, why not use the back of the leaflet to provide many unusual (but useful) facts about the human eye and the need for glasses and lenses?

Create decision square/area
Provide a means for the leaflet recipient to test their own sight to decide if they need glasses. Perhaps a link to a website that provides a simple preliminary test?

Create danger square/area
Use a section of the leaflet to explain that a sight test can discover health problems such as diabetes.


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