Saturday, August 02, 2014

Folio Post 3: The Big City Mentors


The tl;dr of the previous two posts could be:

When you are doing a task, imagine there is an adviser sat to the side of  you who offers advice. This adviser offers advice in two formats: either in a single word format that you have to interpret, or in the form of an adjective that "flavours" the advice you create. 

I said that I imagine an adviser sat next to myself, but there's also a deeper model that I can use. I call this model the Big City Model. The adviser  I spoke of in the first two FOLIO posts is a an example of a mentor, and the Big City has many of these mentors - and many potential mentors too.


My place in the Big City

I imagine that I (or a clone of me, another version of me, or whatever) is standing on the top of a tall building in Big City. My adviser (a mentor) is also standing on a tall building.


The adviser gives me advice, as outlined in the first two FOLIO posts.

New Mentors

One of the reasons why I use the Big City Model is it allows me to invent new mentors and I can try out new mentors. 



The image above demonstrates that there are "mentor vacancies". The format shown above (X-Mentor)  means I can replace the X with a word that shows the mentor's role. The words I use will be either a single random word or a random adjective.

For example (with the creativity challenge Name 500 uses for a paperclip in mind):

Dog-mentor: Favours ideas that involve dogs and dog products.
Down-mentor: Wants to focus on the downside of paperclips - faults in design with a view to making improvements etc.
Steely-mentor: Tough mentor, wants commitment to the task.
Hedonistic-mentor: 1: Favours use of play in the creative challenges.or 2: Wants paperclip ideas that are applicable to leisure and games.

Then each of the mentors can offer advice as shown in the first FOLIO post (using one word) and the second FOLIO post (using adjectives). For example:

Dog-mentor: Advice (one word) = Cot. Interpret that = Invent paperclip uses for puppies.
Dog-mentor: Advice (adjective) = Central advice. = Look at the main dog products on the market and see if a paperclip can be used in some way.

Endless possibilities here with the "X-mentor" idea, of course. Through trial and error I've found about ten mentors that are particularly useful for most tasks. I'll cover them in a later post.

 New Districts

I invented a psychology-mentor and found - through trial and error and over time- that the role split into several sub-cateogories (like sub-mentors) that were useful. So I decided to invent "districts" in the Big City Model where several mentors all have different roles but all come under one banner - in this case "psychology", in the "psychology district":.



Expanding

I can expand on the simple mentor advises me/I interpret format as much as I want to with the Big City Model. The idea being that I will get to the nuts and bolts of the way I use the mentor model to think of ways I can improve it. Here is an example of a high degree of expansion of the mentor advises me/I interpret idea:

The adviser climbs to the top of the building. He spots me on my building, looks at me and says:
"John, I'm going to give you a word. I want you to interpret that word and turn it into advice."
I say, "Great! What's the word?"
The advisor thinks for a moment and says, "Class"
I think of an interpretation.  I decide that I could categorise my ideas for paperclips into different classes.
I tell the adviser, "I will categorise my ideas into classes of ideas."

That could all be shortened to:

Adviser says, "Class"
I interpret: Categorise  my paperclip ideas by class.

And the shortest of all:

Class: Categorise my paperclip ideas by class.

And that final short form is the way I usually work - I write down my one word of advice on paper, then put the interpretation next to it.

Fanciful fiction and stories  

Because I like writing stories, I want to dig deep into the idea of writing fiction within the Big City Model. As an example, I like the idea that a mentor could have a newbie mentor who has to be trained. The mentor would take the newbie and systematically go through the role of a mentor - outline the steps they take to do the role. The newbie could respond in any number of ways - maybe questioning things, challenging things, suggesting ideas. Endless possibilities.  The idea is to get to the heart of the Big City Model and keep on improving it. 

tl;dr: Imagine you have a team of mentors from a city of mentors and create advice the mentors could give you. Create new mentors too.

See also:

How to create a list of random words quickly. 
How to create a list of adjectives quickly.

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