Saturday, September 09, 2006

Optician Project: Increasing and decreasing the degree of a characteristic

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.

This approach can be used to create goals or "What if?" thought experiments. There are five stages to this approach:

1) Choose a piece of information from the information pool.
2) Ask: How X is it?
3) Generate a characteristic for the X
4) Consider an increase or decrease of the degree of the characteristic
5) Use the increase or decrease to either create a goal or formulate a "What if?" thought experiment

1) Choose a piece of information from the information pool

I can choose any piece of information from the information pool -- whether it be a noun, activity, object etc. For this example I'll choose: the leaflet

2) Ask: How X is it?

The X will be a characteristic -- the word(s) chosen will either be an adjective or will function as an adjective.

3) Generate a characteristic for the X

I can generate a list of adjectives as described in the Listing adjectives and adjectival phrases

For my characteristic I will use the word blatant (from the Listing adjectives and adjectival phrases post). So this generates the question:

How blatant is the leaflet?

4) Consider an increase or decrease of the degree of the characteristic

At this stage I can either slightly increase/decrease the degree of the characteristic, or dramatically increase/decrease the degree to outrageous proportions. For a slight change of degree I can consider how blatant the leaflet is. I can imagine that the leaflet is made slightly less blatant -- thus it would attract less attention. Or, I can imagine it is more blatant -- more likely to catch the eye. Taking the degree change to ridiculous proportions I can imagine that the leaflet is so blatant that everyone passing by the leaflet can't help but stop to look, or I can imagine that I decrease the blatantness so much that not even the recipient of the leaflet notices it.

5) Use the degree change to create goals or "What if?" thought experiments

While increasing or decreasing the degree at point 4, I can be mindful of the option to either create goals or "What if?" thought experiments.

So at the point I was considering increasing the blatantness of the leaflet I can set a challenge in the format:

How can I make the leaflet more blatant (eye-catching)?

Where I increased the blatantness to ridiculous proportions I can create a "What if?" question in the form:

What if the leaflet was so blatant that passers-by stopped to look and felt compelled to read?

Another example

Info = the leaflet
Characteristic = inspecting
How can I make the leaflet more inspecting?

Increasing the degree of the inspecting to create a goal, this leads to the idea that the leaflet could in some way inspect the recipient's eyes. How about putting the leaflet some distance away from the windscreen so that the driver is tested in some way? Or putting the leaflet on the back window in reverse-type so that it is read when the driver looks in the mirror?

Do your eyes need testing? If you can't read this they do!

See also: "What if?" questions

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