•  
          All about
    BRAINSTORMING
                          and other creativity techniques
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    “Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought” Henri-Louis Bergson
    Beyond insight alone: abstract principle into concrete application:
     

     

    “The truly great advances of this generation will be made by those who can make outrageous connections, and only a mind which knows how to play can do that.”   

    Nagle Jackson

     
     
    Q. What is innovation?

    A. In the words of Theodore Levitt: “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” As George Santayana observed: “Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit.“ The aphorism illuminates how even innovation is not necessarily always intrinsically relevant. Nevertheless, innovation remains crucial to all progress. Indeed, in the words of Michael Porter: “Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.” Indeed, to amplify in the words of Christopher Freeman: “Not to innovate is to die.”  For in the words of  Gary Hamel: “We've reached the end of incrementalism. Only those companies that are capable of creating industry revolutions will prosper in the new economy.” Innovation is so much more than what is lately fobbed off as such: the noxious polished turds of shameless chicanery, the big lie of criminal innovation only in wholesale embezzlement, ever blazing new trails into the same old larceny, and all under the ruinous legalized corruption so epitomized in perpetual lobbying for deregulation. 

    Creativity,  to quote Einstein: “intelligence having fun,“ as epitomized in Science Fiction and dramatic fiction writing, is the very germ at the heart of innovation, and innovation as epitomized in true entrepreneurship poised upon new venture creation, is the very fulfillment of creativity. As Arthur Porter put it: “IThe innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.”  But until then, are we merely to await, patiently, the bidding of the muse, or else by what initiative might she best be courted more actively? Answer: If ever at all, as facilitated by design and implementation of the most convivial and creatively fertile circumstances or situation, all in confrontation with the most stimulating challenge. For as George Orwell observed: “Philosophers, writers, artists, even scientists, not only need encouragement and an audience, they need constant stimulation from other people. It is almost impossible to think without talking. If Defoe had really lived on a desert island, he could not have written Robinson Crusoe, nor would he have wanted to. Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up.”  And in the words of John Emmerling: “Innovation is creativity with a job to do.”

     
     
    Q. What is the purpose, process and rationale behind BRAINSTORMING?
     
    A. Click here  to read the introduction to this page

     

    Q. What is Brainstorming? 

    A.  Succinctly... 

     

     Also be sure to browse:
    The FICTION BRAINSTORMING Toolkit

     

    Alex F. Osborn the Non Justificationist   

    Does anyone know if Alex F. Osborn the Advertising Executive who developed the procedures of Brainstorming, was aware of the work of Sir Karl Popper? Because Brainstorming translates easily into Popperian terms. 

    After all, Popper not only embraces Sturgeon's Law (descriptively stating that 95% of everything [and not just Pulp Science Fiction] is shit), but goes further, prescriptively contending that the diamonds will never be there to be found, save amid the freely effluent dung pile. 

    And Alex F. Osborn's Brainstorming Methodology of a'posteriori deferred judgment/evaluation, putting into practice Popper's defense of free expression of unfounded conjecture, likewise stressing quantity in order to achieve quality, is now experimentally vindicatedOr is it?

    Even though, for example, a finished plot must generally be linear, in the activity of creative fiction writing the process of plotting probably should not be. Rather, it may be is best to arrange and rearrange the story components one has or can get, in order to then understand the implications and fill in the blanks, an ideal challenge for brainstorming.

    Creativity in any application, in measured steps or "intuitive" leaps, unpredictably dazzlingly brilliant, even peak experience or "merely" clever, is that common and natural cognitive function which, by the Heuristics of Cybernetics particularly, is recognized to be, in part, an investigation, largely a function of flexibility, meaning the ability and willingness to reflect upon and modify ones own gestalt/frameworks and criteria (for example, as in TRIZ, to cross disciplines, inventively), by which known elements are rearranged into new forms, recognizing similarities and differences, making connections and questioning convention; even though, paradoxically, genius often depends upon not only the greater range afforded, but no less crucially, the further constraint of extensive background knowledge, whereas madness, fanaticism, dogmatism and stupidity, by contrast, are comparatively lacking in the restrictions even of reality checking.

    Creativity may even offer a constructive and uplifting outlet for pain and confusion.

    Brainstorming actually only follows the the pattern or stages of creativity as mapped out by Poincare, and summarized concisely inCreativity Addressed
    With the addition of reality testing of at the end, of ideas now regarded more specifically as conjectures, hypotheses, and what results is the Popperian Hypothetico Deductive process, which is Dialectic. And then there is problem solving, synthesizing both applications. And all of this is what Alex F. Osborn seeks to actually put into practice in "thinking up" or Brainstorming.

     

     

    visioningexplorationmodeficationexperimentation

    Contents

    top splash panel

    innovation

    introduction

    preface

     

    0. optional preliminaries 

    1. beginning from unfounded conjecture

    a. points of departure

     2. sharpen focus: visioning

    a. cultivating creative tension
    b. focused listing
    c. interests rather than positions
    d. ladder of abstraction

    3. wild and exaggerated exploration

    a. seven creativity tools from the creativity tools list.

    b. Ideation and the Applied Imagination Question Summary

    c. Techniques for working from Random Stimuli

    d. reverse brainstorming 

    e. mind mapping

     

    4. quantity first, then quality

    a. relevant structure and accessibility: knowledge-driven Epistemology

    5. building upon the ideas of others: modification

    a. concepts in a ha
    b. devil's advocacy

    6. Solution Finding: experimentation guidelines

    a. collaborative filtering
    b. Selecting the Most Important Changes To Make:Pareto Analysis  
    c. acceptance finding / building acceptance & agenda definition

     

    Extras:

    The FICTION BRAINSTORMING Toolkit

    TRIZ theory of Inventive Problem Solving

     

    CLOSER TO TRUTHCreativity and ThinkingCreativity and Thinking

     

     

     
     
     

    0. Optional preliminaries: 

    Minimal ground rules are covered under conduct and moderation.

    Optionally, warm up with an easy, perhaps fun question for a short, practice brainstorming session. It can be anything and doesn't have to be related to whatever matter at hand. 

    Brainstorming may also be more productive preceded by an analysis of some sort, discussion allowing exchange of interpretations and definition of problems, root causes, the barriers to change, the specifics of the present situation, a vision of the ideal situation, the different aspects or segments whatever problem, and even an inventory of the resources available to help solve such a problem.

    Indeed, Brainstorming may often benefit from preliminary and even ongoing research.

    Radicalism, the attempt to start from a clean slate, is a distortion which will undermine the creativity of Brainstorming. Rather, Alex F. Osborn, much like Sir Karl Popper, follows the Dialectic of Socrates in challenging assumptions as they arise. 

    Indeed, far from avoiding all assumptions, on the contrary, it may even be crucial to begin with such discourse as to make certain that the participants each understand and are satisfied with the central question before opening the floor to ideas.  

     

    1: Okay to begin from unfounded conjecture

     
    “... only he is an emancipated thinker who is not afraid to write foolish things.”   — Anton Chekhov 

    The Non Justificationist Methodology of Brainstorming begins with the simple maxim of deferred criticism during the initial creative process of idea generation and collection. Because, as Popper points out, Critical Preference and reality testing come a'posteriori. 

    In practice, behaviorally, this means, be curious first, critical next. To explore possibilities before filtering.

    However, this has been outrageously distorted by some into sheer Anti-Critical Bias, the standpoint that criticism is bad, intrinsically hurtful and dangerous. 

    But Popper explicitly holds argument/debate/polemic and controversy to be most important and productive. And Alex F. Osborn, no fool, likewise brings Critical Preference and reality testing into play, all in due course. 

    Indeed, the one paradigm in which criticism truly has proven most inhibitive to creativity is known as Verificationsm, the doctrine that Science is the accumulation of verified knowledgeAnd history is replete with similar cultural doctrines as applied to the arts, as well. Thus creative speculation is actively discouraged, flittered a'priori, before hand and from the very start. 

    But Non Justificationism, by contrast, holds that Science begins from unfounded conjecture which is to be encouraged, then subjected to critical preference and reality testing. In that order! In other words, that brainstorming is the first stage of the Hypothetico Deductive Method which is Dialectic, in which criticism and objectivity at all come a'posteriori, afterwards, frank, honest but sans recriminationAfter all, we learn by making mistakes, creatively, and then detecting them. And that is the way we grow from practice of the arts, as well. Including creative writing, where, likewise, editing afterwards, as one goes, is crucial, but censoring oneself in advance is deadly.

    But where as Critical Preference consists of such criteria as logical internal consistency (that a likely hypothesis ought not to contradict itself) and elegance (meaning that the simpler explanation that accounts for all the observations is likeliest to be true defined as correspondent to objective reality), successful Brainstorming employs it's own particular preference, the interesting over the uninteresting, dull or boring, where 'interesting' is defined as offering, at the time, more creative points of departure, and 'uninteresting' pertains to ideas that just don't seem to go anywhere, failing to spark creative points of departure, so that folks loose interest in them, and move on. (But not because of squeamish self censorship or covert peer pressure.)

    1a: Any source for points of departure

    After sufficient experience in imitation, individual preference emerges to begin shaping distinct style, creatively. Explore whatever spontaneous inspirations, one's own prior work or other existing sources entirely, and especially the creative reapplication and improvisation of one known elegant solution towards an entirely different problem. 

    Discuss the question or issue for the brainstorming session before hand. 

    Then, feel free either to jump right in, or else to take time as desired to think about and "sleep on it" in order to stimulate the process of "incubation"

    Discuss any
    relevant information concerning the theme or central question, which will provide additional fuel for the  imagination. 

     

     

     

    And always remember that honesty is the best policy!

    2: Visioning- Sharpen the focus

    "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought"

     

    Visioning is ongoing and concurrent with Exploration looking for Ideas. Because, to begin with, Exploration is shaped by Visioning no less than definitive Visioning must be Exploratory of whatever boundaries, and beyond. Even problem solving, in and of itself, may limit the Socratic discourse of the questions rather than the answers and undermine the quest for personal meaning and new horizons. For, in the words of George Bernanos, "there is no worse lie than a problem poorly stated."

    Although, if so be, then an answer in search of a question or a solution seeking a problem, must come as close second. Seek, therefore, the Best Problem Definition.

    Consider these questions using these checklists.

    What do we want?
    What do we have?
    How may we best utilize what we have to achieve what we want?
    And what outcomes will occur as a result?
    No matter the unforeseen, makes irresponsible excuse for the well foreseeable.

    Clearly define the problem and/or opportunity and put forth the motivating goal or ideal outcome, as applicable, not limited by perception of possibility or feasibility and compile lists of statements thereof into Affinity Diagrams according to the Kawakita Jiro method. List All Possible Alternatives and All Factors Involved.

    Consider: What is the problem and/or opportunity? Why is it indeed a problem and/or opportunity? For whom is it a problem and/or opportunity? When did it first become a problem and/or opportunity? What are the roots of the problem and/or opportunity?

     

    Lack of cogent focus:

    It is particularly important to clearly identify and put forth motivating goals in order to distinguish problems from solutions and assumptions to begin with.

    For example, how to get a message to appear on screen, might not be a well defined problem, but only one solution in the first place. A better stated problem might be, how to be informed in the event of whatever particular occurence, such as the arrival of a guest or indeed, an intruder. A chime and/or blinking light would be another possibility, and a phone call, perhaps automated, might be better still. But the greatest hazard remains sheer irrelevant Malagenda.

    Therefore a promising alternative is ANTICONVENTIONAL THINKING (ACT 2.0) turning upon The 5 Whys

     
     
    ideas should compete, bodies should cooperate 
    —  John Storrs Hall
     
    Pursuant to rigorous Situation Analysis including Sensitivity Analysis:
    2a:Cultivate the eustress of engagement in creative tension
    which is a Crucial Component of Creativity
    by criticism and controversy, by the Valuable Intellectual Traits and in all 35 Dimensions of Critical Thought, by the uncompromisingly honest and realistic assessment of the gap between situation analysis of things as they are and the speculative Visioning of whatever Ideal Result.
  • twelve differences

  • Two common and deadly paralytic and heteronymous de-motivators are vagueness in the face of the unknown. And the obvious remedies are the clarification of whatever goals put forth and then simply learning from the successful instead of always metaphorically reinventing the proverbial wheel. But often vagueness is such that it will not even be immediately clear how to sharpen the focus, nor is whatever learning curve in surmounting the unknown always readily apparent either. In such common event, autonomy requires actually to make the vague and unknown your friend!
     
    For indeed it is eustress, challenge and thereby tolerance of the awareness of disparity between reality and desire, that may characterize creativity in the individual or the social environment. -Rather than either simply giving up or else continuing, but only in whatever no less ineffectual and fruitlessly paralytic state of self-satisfied denial and anxiety.
     
    The so called ideal condition, in Triz creative tension, is more properly the optimum. Hence the benevolently cunning Russian slight of hand, to replace the unendurable tension between the fallible human condition and ideal perfection (by any other name), instead with the challenging and stimulating eustress between engineering trade-offs. -thus replacing the striving with unrealistic perfection in utopist ideology, instead with problem solving to achieve any intrinsically feasable optimum, and replacing blind faith staying the course instead with feasibility study, as impossible and crushing endless open ended godlike responsibility to any goal putting forth of ultimate perfection is redefined, instead, as whatever optimistically motivating but concrete best case scenario. And because trial and error are implicit, and because discrete tasks must be undertaken before grand master plans, even rational democratic progress may yet creep into the realm of acceptance.
     
    At whatever level of accomplishment, from the neophyte to the master, the eustress of Emotional decision making remains crucial because it must always be a measure of dissatisfaction that motivates and guides ongoing further progress. And this amounts to a tolerance in order to actually harness insecurity constructively as a real life motivation to creativity. For in the words of Friedrich Nietzsche: “Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings - always darker, emptier and simpler.”
     
    Because knowing and gauging the difference between any desired motivating goal put forth, and the current reality, engenders dissatisfaction, an apatite, healthy tension seeking productive resolution, no less than one would in TRIZ, seeking innovation to overcome engineering or other trade-offs, if at all possible.
     
    For such is the positive power of negative thinking! 

    "People who are convinced that a vision or result is important, who can see clearly that they must change their life in order to reach that result, and who commit themselves to that result nonetheless, do indeed feel compelled. They have assimilated the vision not just consciously, but unconsciously, at a level where it changes more of their behavior. They have a sense of deliberate patience--with themselves and the world--and more attentiveness to what is going on around them. All of this produces a sustained sense of energy and enthusiasm, which (often after a delay) produces some tangible results, which can then make the energy and enthusiasm stronger."
     
    Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook
     
     
    Many people often tend to interact superficially for the comfort of denial, to avoid deeper and more troubling issues, focusing upon the trivial they neglect the meaningful, a veritable living death of running ever harder just to keep up with standing still.

    But is conflict really avoided this way? By dwelling upon petty issues, rather than drama, only petty bickering  arises instead of true controversy, because the crucial impetus to growth and progress has effectively been hobbled. Thus, in fiction no less than in
    reality, we may do best to welcome conflict so long as it may be important or meaningful. A good process aims to resolve the decisive (and divisive) issues and clear them out of the way. Sometimes putting forth and pressing important concrete motivating goals provides the impetus to move along past conflict. But this tends to reduce drama, an effect while generally soothing in reality and the sooner the better, by the same token harmful to fiction and to be put off as long as possible, because drama is plotted and structured so as to intensify the tension of conflict until reaching climax and resolution, dramatic tension, which, indeed, by either happenstance or cultivation in reality, may sometimes be known as creative tension.
    Indeed, any story plot full of dramatic tension, every Technique of Suspense plotting and conflict on varied levels in fiction allows for the vicarious thrill of whatever creative tension is depicted in the story situation. Creative tension portrayed in fiction yields dramatic tension for the story!
     
    More over, under the right condition, in reality no less than in fiction, conflict on many levels is known even to strengthen relationships. But overcoming denial to come to grips with whatever obstacles can be quite dramatic, in real life no less than in fiction.
     
    And that may be why mediocre minds all too often prefer to avoid tension, actual or even fictional, at all costs and never grow.
     
    Such prefer everything settled, everything neat, everything as it should be. They don't like any questions, uncertainty or ambiguity. All is at peace. All is quiet. All are obviously bored or else obsessive.
     
    And this throws us face first into the struggle for open honest disagreement against anti-critical bias, timidity and underhanded consensus manipulation, which even future interaction on the frontiers of advanced automated Sociometry might never sidestep
     
    The Dialectic of Socrates
      THE SIX TYPES OF SOCRATIC QUESTIONS 
     Getting Unstuck

     

     
    2b: Focused Listing

     

    Click for pros and cons of Focused Listing.
     
    The focused listening method is a word association challenge that may prove somewhat experimental, in that some repetition and modification for the sake trial and error may be required, so that, in the end, the topic will be neither too broad nor too narrow to be workable or illuminating.
     
    Where as, in consensus manipulation chicanery including schooling or indoctrination, especially under however relative conditions of captivity, a leader, teacher, Political Commissar or "Facilitator" sets leading question, for true Dialectics, genuine Brainstorming and more honest Visioning, by all means let the floor should be open to prompts from all participants.
     
    Then Focused listing can be utilized in Visioning to help define problems and/or opportunities, beginning with data collection, the compiling of verbal description from participants into Affinity Diagrams according to the Kawakita Jiro method.
     
    Standard example: List words or short phrases that describe or define what a motivated student is or does.
     
    Indeed, further refinement may be derived by Directed Paraphrasing, where in a point or definition must be restated for some specific audience, context or application. Such as any Law of Thermodynamics for children, or what assessment is or should be for stockholders, consumers or regulatory agencies, respectively.

    Responses can be grouped into four sets:
    Confused, minimal, adequate, and excellent.


    Then examine responses within and across the four evaluative categories for accuracy, suitability for the intended audience, and effectiveness in fulfilling the assigned purpose.
     
    Highlight the clearest and muddiest points offered. Identify the most unclear points and help clear up the muddy points of others.
     
    Click for pros and cons of Muddiest Point procedure.

    Then the responses can also be grouped to discover emerging patterns of clarity and confusion.

    Then data analysis follows, wherein the lists compiled can be compared and discussed freely.

     
    2c: Focus upon interests rather than positions.
    Shared interests may also be found among the motivations behind the conflict of opposing positions in real life drama. Here are points crucial both to real world problem solving with real people in brainstorming and visioning and, no less, in fiction writing with imaginary characters as the events in sequence of plot logic bring the story to resolution:

    Identify interests and POV:

  • Ask "why?" (does anyone take whichever position that they do)
  • Ask "why not?" (haven't they taken any opposing position particularly such of which one might hope to persuade them)
  • Force Field Analysis - Understanding The Pressures For and Against Change (origin)
  • Explore multiple interests, as everyone typically has multiple interests and acknowledge competing interests as part of the problem to solve, in interactively reframing the problem to achieve any sort of synergistic win-win scenario, extrication from any zero-sum deadlock.
  • Be concrete but flexible
  • Subject all the above to Sensitivity Analysis, Focused Listing and Muddiest Point procedures
  • Be hard on the problem, easy on the person... unless it's a fictional character!
  • For a fictional character the writer must do precisely the opposite: No Powderpuff Pitty-Pat! Throughout the plot, every Technique of Suspense plotting is heightened as things are made more difficult, the personal emotional stakes are raised, and character growth is pressed by worsening complications for an active protagonist. What's good in life, is bad for drama and vice versa. So navigate the various possible paths and dead ends and to find stories always dig deeper for insight into struggle.
     
    2d: Ladder of Abstraction

    For the above point defines growth character development from adversity for oneself or anyone else in reality no less than for imaginary characters in fiction.

    Alas, a common anti-critically biased mediocre minded failure of collective thinking is when the very questions are arbitrary and pointless, and the suggestions unimaginative, putting the proverbial cart far before the metaphorical horse. But even, however rarely, when dealing with choices of creative / dramatic tension that might conceivably make an effective difference somehow, nevertheless even discussion at all to the point still tends to reduce to pointless expression of position and preference that remain genially arbitrary for wont of Critical Thinking about the real situation and whatever principles apply thereto. 

    In other words, even majority decisions may be rendered meaningless, sans any focus upon whatever real issues, and in terms of whatever such issues (such as any pertinent question of what might be more dramatic and why in fiction, or salient questions of what it takes to influence government or make business viable) so crucial to informing any more meaningful discourse.

    All classic problems of any system eclipsing it's own purpose,  internal agenda instead of putting forth external motivating goals. Such is all that comes from the consensus of people who are not challenging to one another, stop caring and never grow.

    Two possible consequences of external conflict are dominance or annihilation, the outcome determining the victor and the defeated. But other possibilities include stalemate or compromise. Indeed, as Mary Parker Follett anticipated so well ahead of her time, conflict on many levels is to be found at the root of both deadlock and accomplishment in social reality and work, even exactly as in by now standard dramatic formulae.

    Likewise, and sometimes in parallel or counterpoint with just such outer conflict, there are also a number of  possible developmental outcomes of crisis, growth from inner conflict, even proportionally.

    Indeed, Martin Luther King regarded creative tension as key to personal and societal growth, because like individuals, even entire societies undergo Positive Disintegration via conflict resolution, synthesis and even reconciliation, making nonviolent resistance more than merely a tool for confrontation, because nonviolent resistance also serves to mobilize support for the cause so that the resultant conflict on every level, motivates everyone to take a stand, on one side or the other.  A "mentally and spiritually aggressive" technique not only avoiding "external physical violence," but also "seek[ing] to avoid internal violence [to the] spirit."

    So, in King's view, real life progress actually depends very much upon true real life drama, the struggle for meaningful values in action that matters, to which motivated conflict on every level, of course, is likewise central for meaningful social controversy!

    And in brainstorming, specifically in Visioning, the sharpening of focus, by contrast, definition of problems is a part of creativity.  And the cultivation of creative tension may even show promise in ameliorating a common drawback of group decisions, that of arbitrarily wishy-washy compromise simply for amicability's sake. Indeed, Focused Listing not only facilitates creativity and problem solving, but enhances people skills in Acceptance Finding.

    In all things, the dynamic and flexible social engineering principles, personal autonomy, good sportsmanship and responsible values of rational democratic progress are systematic doubt, hope in the honest embrace of fallibility and tolerance for uncertainty, substantive discourse, debate of disputes, criticism without punishment and no insult taken, free inquiry into problems openly and publicly without fear of punishment, indeed, imagination, open unfounded speculation about different case scenarios pursuant to any number of varied and different proposed measures, without need of conforming or in any way limiting said speculations to any accepted quasi-official position.

    The very values and aptitudes ever fostered in brainstorming and fiction writing!

    And all pursuant to experiment, trial and error, the vital opportunity for all manner of ongoing reevaluation and revision, open ended correction of mistakes and improvement at all levels, piecemeal, without bloodshed, violence or even strife as such.

    Democracy is the social system of process seeking to guarantee these rights, to encourage, protect and foster all such interaction. 

    The following steps in brainstorming may be applied just to the visioning alone no less than to the rest of the brainstorming process, afterwards.

     

     

     

    3: Explore
    Encourage wild and exaggerated I D E As from every POV

    focus upon general ideas rather than specific problems SynecticsAny source must be allowable for points of departure.

    It's much easier to tame a wild idea later on, than it is to think of an immediately valid, viable, founded or Justified one in the first place. Heck, the 'wilder' the idea the better! By all means, pop out bizarre and unworkable ideas to see what they might spark off. No idea is too ridiculous. Humor is also creative, after all. For, not only truth but inspiration does come forth in jest or from Stream of Consciousness free association and permutations

    Optionally, practice close and detailed observation and description of pertinent objects, phenomena and even visual "deep thought" fantasies, until novel and even insightful details and/or connections and associations arise.

    So, allow, state any ideas, however outlandish or downright silly, deferring  judgment or evaluation, suspending disbelief, conscience and even good taste, however momentarily. 

    "A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing"
    -George Orwell, 'The Freedom of the Press' essay preface to 'Animal Farm' - 1945

    Exaggerating ideas to such extremes even as of the unfettered speculation in Science Fiction as a vehicle of satire, is often helpful in opening up thinking from fresh direction or POV.  And one can always put forward ideas, thoughts purely as creative points of departure, to spark off other people and not just as a solution to any problem in particular. 

    Exploration, looking for Ideas, is ongoing and concurrent with Visioning. Because, just as Exploration is guided and defined by Visioning, so too is definitive Visioning Exploratory of and beyond the boundaries it seeks. In the words of George Bernanos, "there is no worse lie than a problem poorly stated." Hence, even problem solving, in and of itself, may limit the Socratic discourse of the questions rather than the answers and undermine the quest for personal meaning and new horizons.

     

    3a: The Seven Creativity Tools

    Click the link above to browse variant brainstorming exercises for making new variations and finding different correlations. Also see the creativity tools list.

    3b: Ideation

    Click the link above for an exhaustive list and explanation of different problem solving methods and approaches, the emphasis being on engineering. Also browse the Applied Imagination Question Summary and see: TRIZ.

    3c: Techniques for working from Random Stimuli

    Because the human brain is a self-organizing pattern creation system, always making connections, almost any random word will stimulate ideas on a given subject. Simply follow the associations and functions of whatever stimuli and also aspects thereof as a metaphor or even Forced Relationships/Analogy.

     

       C U T - U P     

     

    William Burroughs and the cut-up technique...

     

       C U T - U P    

     

     
     
     
           Exterminate All Rational Thought
    with: DadaDodo and WebCollage        

    Plato held that patient reflection upon the whys and wherefores any instance or experience of subjective beauty can reveal some meaningful truth in an idea.

    "When I was a boy I felt that the role of rhyme in poetry was to compel one to find the unobvious because of the necessity of finding a word which rhymes. This forces novel associations and almost guarantees deviations from routine chains or trains of thought. It becomes paradoxically a sort of automatic mechanism of originality ..."

    — Stan Ulam, Adventures of a Mathematician

    Stimulation Toolbox
      Job Force Takes inspiration from occupations.
      Ricliché Uses playfully distorted proverbs as prompts.
      Sloganeeze Draws inspiration from advertising slogans.
      Web Economy Bullshit Generator Very clever, but the verbs are often real verbs.
      Star Force Asks how famous people might solve your problem.
      Follow a chain of quotations to inspiration.

      WordGizmo

    Creates new words to inspire you.

      CorpSpeak

    Generates random corporate memos.

      WriteExpress

    Combines word parts and rhymes with your entry.

      Naming Prompts

    Suggests 100 ways to think about naming.

      Idea-A-Day

    Over 700 free ideas and growing.

    Sets

    .

    Automatically create sets of items from a few examples.

    Free web-based anagram server from your input.

    "All the life's wisdom can be found in anagrams. Anagrams never lie."

     

    Oulipo Definitional Literature

    Words of a chosen text are replaced with their dictionary definitions.

      Multibabel lost in translation

    Any phrase translated by computer back and forth between 5 different languages.

    ftosoeluqquleosotf

    Haiku Writer    Confines itself to
    Just seventeen syllables.
    Procrustean, right?
    Press Release Writer   
    Self-absorbed even for a writer, its whole
    oeuvre consists of press releases announcing itself... and if you can believe everything you
    read, it's pretty good at it!
     

      Random Plot Points

    A companion tool box to this one, First Aid for writer's block in fiction writing.

    The Random Surrealism Gennerator  Isn't it splendid?
    Bandages are for the wombs
    -- Rampant Lady Bunny (1497 CE)

    Q. Is Surrealism truly "as beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table"? 

    A. "The surrealist use of games, like that of art and literature, is primarily focused on the subversion of premeditation and rational constraints, but in addition it is also a subversion of the artist's ego with the potential for revealing the Marvelous heavily relying on the release of collective creativity." 

             Improv

     

    3d: Reverse Brainstorming 

    Consider every POV, no matter how outrageous.

    "The nature of a novel is that it has no opinions, only the dialectic of contrary views, some of which, all of which, may be untenable and even silly." 

    Anthony Burgess   

    For sheer creative Provocation, modify problem statements outrageously! -Even to the point of the ridiculous, totally far-fetched, backwards, impossible, or humorous, even downright wacky. Indeed, for story plotting, inspiration may even be derived from free association via the experimental introduction of entirely inappropriate elements and characters.

    Deploying the Paramount Idea tool, define and put forth the primary motivating goals, and then (hypothetically) abandon it! For example, instead of increased sales, imagine bankruptcy and consider resource redeployment thereafter. Then readapt the new ideas either toward the primary the primary motivating goals initially put forth or possible sidelines that have been discovered.

    Indeed, among the CRUTCHES FOR A GENIUS is Thinking in opposites, Problem Reversal, actually brainstorming ways to do things opposite or even dead wrong so as to accomplish or change nothing, criticism, fault finding for gaps in strategy, such as in how, where, to whom and in what way, and whatever measures under consideration would have no desired effect or virtually no effect at all, or even how to actually make things worse (such as, for example,  how to waste water rather than how to save it, or to alienate one's object d'amore rather than ever winning hearts and minds, or even the Six Surefire Ways to Kill a Brainstorm (rather than fostering creativity) so as to suggest solutions by defining problems, indeed, much as in plot oriented story lines. Just so, Fanfic Rebellion serves as an opportune demonstration of some of the creative and investigative possibilities. 

    "Bullshit!Hungarian Brainstorming, 'A steady stream of wild ideas, punctuated by logical and scientific reasoning'. Memetic mutation subject to selection (elimination) for fitness. The general idea of these forums, except without the score keeping of the party game... 

    Premise with Antithesis or Counter Premise, in the richness and, as in the Zen dualistic opposition of Yin and Yang, the clash of paradoxical reconciliation and balanced accommodation of contradictions, and ambiguity, as a means of creative modification. "In a good play, everyone is right."  Even the emptiest verbal abuse outright may be salvaged via the techniques of topic reclamation.

    Evocative drama may turn upon social estrangement or other reversals and may also incorporate an opposing or contradictory Counter Premise or Antithesis. For better and more dramatic and engaging conflict on myriad levels in fiction, even diametrically opposing views and tendencies, indeed if not represented in the agenda of an antagonist or villain outright, may even be embodied by the foil and related character

    Antitheses, opposites, may also be synthesized (combined), because concrete solutions to problems, indeed truth itself (correspondence to reality) are often found in Dialectic synthesis of somewhat abstract extremes. But in consensus manipulation, just such Dialectic synthesis of antitheses is perverted and subverted into a means of peer pressuring consent in order to collectively conceal and suppress controversy.

     

     

    3e:
      
     

    Mind Map

    Concept maps

    An entirely optional visual tool with your choice of
     FREEWARE!!  
    for Brainstorming, is Mind Mapping as expounded also in the Mind Mapping FAQ or learn how in 8 Easy Steps  

    Open the FoolQuest.com folder in the IHMC Public Cmaps (2) Place

    More Mind Mapping freeware                            

    Video: How to Mind-Map with Tony Buzan

    History: Mind Mapping, also known as 'Radiant Thinking', is a technique that was developed in the 1970s by Tony Buzan. A Mind Map consists of a central word or concept, with 5 to 10 main ideas radiating out from that central concept.

    Mind Mapping can be effective in taking inventory of current knowledge and also to make associations because each Basic Ordering Idea can become the center of another Mind Map. And a Mind Map is capable of producing endless associations. Indeed, the very structure of a Mind Map keeps giving rise to fertile new associations. Mind Mapping also helps organize information hierarchically, in a way that is not possible with lists. The tree-like structure of a Mind Map is a hierarchy and the non-linear nature of mind maps makes it easy to link and cross-reference different elements, hence the process of arranging information along the 'branches' and 'twigs' of a Mind Map facilitates superior grasp of the information.

    Related technique's include:
    The Relations Diagram (or Interrelationship Digraph) and Clustering.

    Uses: Mind Mapping is used, individually or in concert, to help in sorting out and making choices, organizing ideas (one's own or those of others), memory, creativity, Self-Analysis, problem-solving, diaries, Genealogy, learning, teaching, note taking, presentations and more. 

    And in case of writer's block, Writing flash fiction using bubble diagrams is an application of Mind Mapping to creative writing. For this purpose, the Random Story Starter can be supplemented with the Random Character Maker and Random Character Namer or DADA's Little Baby Namer.

    And for an impressive, elaborate, robust, but at least initially somewhat daunting series of forms, all flowcharted together, be sure to check outCyberGoal

     

     

     

    4: Quantity may be desirable, quality as we go

    “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.    Linus Pauling

     

    As many ideas, POV, variations and synthesis as possible

    Get each idea noted, noticed, and seek response as per item 5, next.  

    The more creative ideas a person or a group has to choose from, the better. If the number of ideas at the end of the session is very large, then there will be that much more to sift through and work with for the best ideas in due course. 

    Brainstorming should not stop until ideas become sparse, allowing for late-coming ideas.

    In brainstorming, it may help to keep each idea succinct rather than elaborating in excessive detail - just capture its essence. Brief clarifications can be requested. Think freelyand reflect in due course. 

    After all, can there really ever be such a thing as excessive participation?

    4a: Knowledge-driven Epistemology proceeds from the Empirically derived hypothesis, the observation that often one typically strives to understand otherwise often quite baffling new information at all in context of existing knowledge. This proposition emphasizes the structure and accessibility of relevant knowledge as a crux of problem solving, deduction and even prognosis. Efficiently stored knowledge is structured into networked schema of information interconnected by links of rational association. It is just such richly interconnected structures of knowledge that constitute comprehension, hence new knowledge (knowledge being the recognition of truth, truth being correspondence to reality), and enable the recognition, in turn, of the relevance whatsoever of whatever appropriate schema. And so, for better or worse, knowledge actually tends to limit sheer experimental creativity of correlations.

    Indeed, an expert is one well able to access by recall from memory such networked knowledge structures readily, and rapidly decide which information is important, which cues are significant and how to integrate these data to draw sound conclusions and derive appropriate decisions.

    But improperly indexed knowledge is called inert, tending toward simply going overlooked in solving problems. If judgments/evaluations are made without coherent convergence of the diverging thoughts, creativity will tend to be lost! And that would be purpose defeating and pointless!  Therefore, eliminate, combine or group duplicate and then similar ideas and emergent themes. Otherwise, exhaustion may often motivate a precipitously poor and arbitrary choice from an unwieldy and disorganized list. Sort the ideas into groups and subgroups in preparation of the Affinity Diagram according to the Kawakita Jiro method of grouping observations into clusters and combining and making sense of like ideas to better create opportunity, then to build upon them and spark new ideas for any clearer picture of the problem to emerge and hence to structure more productive discussion.

    An Affinity Diagram can be expressed in the form of a written list or by sorting pocket reference cards or as a chart with Microsoft Excel or even using of the free template for Microsoft Word   

    Everyone can and should participate in sorting. But do not name or categorize groups or subgroups, at least until they take shape.

    Then Clarify each idea. Identify and explain different understandings thereof, as this can only better facilitate collaborative filtering from the Affinity Diagram later on.

     

     

    5: Modification - Build upon the ideas put forward by others
    finer points

    Build and expand on the ideas of others through out. Try and add extra thoughts to each idea or and/or change or improve themLikewise, use other people's ideas as inspiration for your own. Creative people, after all, are also sharp listeners. Synthesize (combine) several of the suggested ideas, even contradicting ones (Antithesis), to explore new possibilities.

    It may prove just as valuable to be able to adapt and improve other people's ideas as it is to generate the initial idea that sets off new trains of thought.

    It was in just such fashion, that the Beatles would regularly modify and improve one another's lyrics, back and forth, to such brilliant result. Hence so obvious why they where never as good separately. Indeed, Monty Python did much the same so innovatively for offbeat humor. And FoolQuest.com invites YOU, likewise, to peruse content, weigh in, and partake of collaborative brilliance, online!

    5a: Concepts in a Hat 

    Seek to find and explain new connections and relationships between the different ideas already put forth, and with other things, even all chosen at random. 

    Or to maximize the challenge if Combination Creativity, find and list similarities even between the most unrelated and dissimilar problem statements.

    Optionally, also try Mind Mapping or make use of the free template for Microsoft Word 2000+ pocket reference cards for sorting the entries into groups and subgroups in preparation of the Affinity Diagram according to the Kawakita Jiro method.

    5b: Devil's Advocacy

    For the full benefit of meaningful controversy, competing ideas can and should be argued/debated against one another, attacked and defended, adversarially. After all, one can and should always be free to express each one's own differing opinions, preferences or tastes. 

    After all, the deferred judgment/evaluation of Brainstorming in the Hypothetico Deductive Method should not and does not mean the permanent surrender of all personal reasoning and conscience!

    So, by all means, beyond simply emphasizing different priorities or POV, one after another, as in the Six Thinking Hats Technique, just as a creative challenge and logical test, one can also extend the best individual or collaborative Parallel Thinking effort by actually attacking and defending different positions in turn, the way law students do. 

    Indeed, the Six Thinking Hats Technique may also prove excellent in redeployment to fiction writing, because unique and original well rounded characters in opposition each need plausible rationalizations consistent with differing motivation, for all of exactly the very sort of dramatic conflict on every level that Edward de Bono so deplores in real life!

     

     

     

    6: Experimentation and Solution-Finding Guidelines

    Science Fiction isn’t dying; it’s metastasizing!

    Defining Fictional Entrepreneurship, the ability to make the impractical practical:
    Passive denial sinks even the most modest, banal and straightforward proposition into sheer empty pipedream,
    whereas honest due diligence ekes barest feasibility study at all even out from the most fantastic overreach.
    Because objectivity is never a secure foundation, but merely an honest intention
    of error detection and course correction along the way.
    -Rigorous business planning towards new venture creation as an exercise in extreme Science Fiction futurological scenario planning and detailed World Building.

    Hence the idea finding of Brainstorming must flow into the next aspect of the Hypothetico Deductive Method, which is examination for critical evaluation.

    1. How well was judgment/evaluation deferred?
    2. How flexible in spawning different topics or broad ideas? 
    3. How well in suspension of bias of prior experience?
    4. How fluent in spinning off variations of whatever basic topic or idea? 
    5. How new or original in thinking up anything hither to unimagined or simply overlooked and unconsidered? 
    6. How well in expressing things at all differently? 
    7. How well in modification, expanding, combining, building and elaborating upon other ideas?

    FoolQuest.com is YOUR invitation, likewise, to peruse content, weigh in, and partake of collaborative brilliance, online!

    6a: Collaborative Filtering:
    Gradually narrow down the Affinity Diagram by crossing off or erasing ideas from the lists. Try to arrive at the few very best solutions/ideas.
     
    Then follow through with thought experiment to imagine the possible outcomes. What might conceivably work, which might be interesting, appealing  and persuasive, or how it might go awry, which, while in real life planning one seeks to avoid, for fiction, may be more dramatic and offer more good plot twists
    1. What solutions or ideas make sense or not?
    2. What solutions or ideas have merit or not?
    3. Are some too simple?
    4. Are some too complex?
    5. What will be practical/feasible/plausible and what is not?
    6. What would be the foreseeable or most dramatic results, consequences and ramifications of each solution or idea?

    Do not rank by preference. Neither rush to judgment/evaluation nor seek the single answer.

    Choice by elimination is a last resort! Do not choose until first sorting for common themes or similarities. They are always there!

    In the Problem Census procedure, problems, questions and difficulties are compiled and then voted on to be sorted by priority and then dealt with in turn. Then, in the Rational Management Technique decisions are guided by explicit criteria (if not established before hand then compiled by the participants), some criteria identified as crucial and even indispensable while others merely preferable or desirable, for possible solutions to then be identified and compiled and next perhaps rated on degree to which each solution fulfils the criteria, identifying the optimum choices among imperfect options.

    Disagreement is indispensable to creativity. But if ever consensus in choosing decisions to make truly becomes an indispensable priority, and all else fails, then, eventually, as a very last resort, and even then subject to ongoing honest reevaluation, votes can be taken as to rating solutions and/or what to cross off, in turn, from the Affinity Diagrams, in Collaborative Filtering during Solution-Finding.

    6b:Pareto Analysis - Selecting the Most Important Changes To Make

    The Pareto Principle, as so named by J.M. Juran, based upon Vilfredo Pareto's 80/20 rule, is the idea that by doing 20% of work you can generate 80% of the advantage of doing the entire job by "Separating the Significant Few from the Trivial Many" under the premise that an estimated 80% of problems are actually due to only 20% of all whatever myriad and multifarious conceivable and possible causes.

    Pareto Analysis can be of use when one encounters multiple related problems, or a common problem with multiple causes. Especially if one might be able to collect metrics on how many times each problem or cause occurs in order to observe whatever problems and determine their frequency of occurrence. This, in turn, derives the information needed for prioritization of effort to ensure expenditure of time and resources to maximize positive impact.

    But where statistical data is short, or not quite applicable, some informal prioritization must suffice. (And that is where Brainstorming generally and Visioning in particular may come into it, to Explore whatever issues entailed.)  For example, each type of defect or failure observable or anticipated in a process under consideration may be "weighted", if desired, according to its severity, adverse impact and/or cost to repair.

    Pareto Analysis is a formal technique for finding the changes that will give the biggest benefits, useful where many possible courses of action are competing for attention.

    What Is A Pareto Chart?
    "A pareto chart is used to graphically summarize and display the relative importance of the differences between groups of data. Learn when it's appropriate to use a pareto chart, histogram and bar chart, and what the differences are." From iSixSigma.

    Use Pareto Analysis as applicable, to practical considerations of problem solving.

    But what about Pareto Analysis somehow reapplied for more pure creativity exercises? Now that, as a topic, might make for an engaging Brainstorming Exploration and/or Reverse Brainstorm!

    Indeed, to pad a good Hard Boiled Murder Mystery with adventure in the pursuit of endless red herrings, let the protagonist waste time on the Trivial Many shady characters and situations, by being diverited away from upstanding Significant Few with too much at stake and too much to hide!

    The Pareto Zen: If and when you find yourself in distress of overwork, then are you indeed prioritizing what is most crucially urgent, important or desirable, or only Behaviorally reacting to the most immediately presenting stimuli, situational forces and the sensation of urgency from whatever or whoever gets in your face first?

    At least will you even pause back up your metaphorical nose from the proverbial grindstone in order, as it where, simply first to sharpen the grindstone the better and more productively to work thereafter?

     

    6c: Acceptance Finding / Building Acceptance & Agenda Definition

    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain 
     
    As with much of the information presented here on FoolQuest.com the following is presented in contexts both of reality and real application and also for drama.
     
    Acceptance Finding or Building Acceptance, means reaching collective consent after Solution Finding in order to prepare for action. But what does that entail? When writers brainstorm together, sometimes they complete works in collaboration, and other times they create entirely separate works off on their own. Or one can do both!  And the same principle may or may not apply to individual and collective priorities, strategies and agendas to real action. Putting aside irrational psychology and devious manipulation even at the expense of more dramatic conflict, instead assuming good will and rationality, it means together coming to decisions so that action can be taken, even persuasive "selling" and persuaded "buying into" ideas, proposals and whatever productive compromise, then arriving at a clear plan of action. And all this should be the focus of an agenda: 
     
    An agenda may be defined as a list of questions/inquiries or objectives to be considered and pursued or tasks to be accomplished. When an agenda item is an objective, the implicit questions are to the wisdom and desirability of such an objective, and then if the objective is ratified, strategically how best to achieve said objective. If the agenda item is already any specific task, then the implicit question is logistical, deciding how best to go about and accomplish said task. And crucially, this this brings us to what is called an  Action agenda . But more later.
     
    Individuals, traditions or institutions all alike, may covertly harbor ulterior motive and howsoever ambivalent or duplicitously undisclosed hidden agendas all their own. Daylight is the best sanitation for hidden agendas, and the best nourishment for honesty in best agenda setting.
     
    In formal parliamentary procedure, an agenda is put on the floor and seconded, then put before the assembly for acceptance or rejection by a voice vote. In this way it assures that the topics to be discussed and acted upon will be those topics of common interest to the majority of the assembly. Once an agenda is accepted by the assembly by vote the only topics to be discussed and acted upon are those that appear on the agenda. Anything else is out of order.
     
    Less formally, an agenda may either be set ahead of time or proposed by a participant in discussion from the beginning. An agenda purposefully and transparently gathers and structures focus upon topics of inquiry, discourse or planning, including issues, priorities and projects for consideration, all bearing in mind motivations and priorities of participants in deliberation and even for preparation as prior to a scheduled meeting or discussion. What goals are set forth? How is discussion relevant thereto? And as to ones own part,  in the immortal words of James Stockdale: Who am I, and why am I here? What purpose is served by ones own involvement? All thereby, an agenda be rendered clearly explicit rather than implicit or actually unclear. Whereas an ulterior agenda in subtext, seeks to smuggle into action, just as taboo exists to obstruct, any such as above, unstated and unexamined. Indeed, for example, Mass Media is noted for its power to set public policy agenda by raising profile of some problems and proposals, while ignoring and banishing other information and ideas into the veritable oblivion and limbo of collective unconscious that is public dismissal and forgetfulness. Thus is established the Media Political Frame which is the very proverbial box, the confinement whereof creative thinking, investigation and problem solving so strives to escape. For autonomy, open ended deliberation upon agenda explores direction in defining voluntary collaboration and participation, thereby filling the gap left in the rejection of heteronymous leadership or convention.
     
    For happiness, Epicurus espoused freedom, friendship and thought. Indeed: Happy people talk more seriously together, freely, and with less small talk. Because otherwise, to quote Olmstead: “After all is said and done, much is said and little is done.” And to quote Benjamin Disraeli: "Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”  Indeed, one feature of serious conversation is agenda. Moving from the abstract and general, to the concrete and particular, characteristics of agenda are questioning open endedness, the practice of criticism and controversy, strategic planning into expanding collaborative action. Agenda is therefore taboo. In any bureaucracy, especially as in any way influenced by or affiliated to what passes for education, if calls to agenda cannot simply be ignored or condemned, they will typically be countered with call for compromise in the name of convention and sensitivity, all amounting to the heteronymous annihilation of all the aforementioned responsible and liberating characteristics of agenda.

    Certain constraints of time structure may be relaxed given asynchronous text communication instead of meetings in real time. All the same, raising good questions in setting or revising agenda organizes and itemizes relevant objectives, whatever goals put forth, values, procedures and priorities, even step by step, framing clearly and transparently, into an order or schedule of whatever business to be done or considered, again, unless, as in the subtext of dramatic dialogue (never well written "on the nose" ), the inner dramatic of unresolved hidden or ulterior agenda actually serving to shield expression of true intent.

    Agenda frames topic of discussion, sets forth goals and defines needs to be fulfilled in the crafting of strategy culminating in effective action; listing all that must be done for implementation as applicable in order to make the idea happen, certainly if in actual reality, or even dramatically or in whatever hypothetical scenario or fictional context, as ever the case may be.

    An effective agenda will direct and support whatever purpose at hand, setting the expectations for participants thereof, informing participants of any helpful or required prior preparation, all permitting adequate time and attention to cover each item and allowing ready adjustment as needed.

    Is there or should there even be any deadline? In reality, deadlines as any other goals sets forth, are best neither to be neglected nor simply assumed and then imposed arbitrarily, even if whatever impending threat and the race against time does number among the time honored dramatic Techniques of Suspense plotting. However, in life as in drama, task interdependency is often what is actually crucial: What must be accomplished and within what time frame, in order for other tasks to even become possible in turn. 

    What materials and resources are required?  

    What obstacles or complications can be anticipated, and how are they best to be dealt with?

    Who else must be involved? Consider and anticipate any known egos and existing agendas, in order to brainstorm how all said might be dealt with. Identify and reconcile interests, an aspect of people skills throughout Visioning and Focused Listing in particular.

    Who should be consulted and included before hand? What strategic alliances might be advantageous, and what committees, if any, need to be formed?

    Also, how and what day-to-day practices and cooperation to be secured, and problems dealt with as they arise? Can tasks be be itemized in writing and and then scheduled?
    6d: Strategic Planning

    How are desired results to be arrived at? List the steps and sub-steps needed to be performed in sequence, starting from now, until the problem is entirely solved in a WHO-WHAT-WHEN format. Also, how is progress to be monitored?

    To assess acceptable Slack Time, the margin of time to spare in accomplishing any part of the whole undertaking, task/outcome interdependencies of the steps in a complex process represented in a PERT (program evaluation review technique) diagram must be anticipated as clearly as possible by way of CPM, the Critical Path Method.
    Definition Explanation  How--To FAQ

    Of course, all plans, of however much foresight and detail, are still only hypotheses, prognoses, fictional plotlines that will need, likewise, be flexible to re-adaptation to the inevitably unforeseen, in reality no less than in any gripping fiction. And in reality no less than in drama, task/outcome interdependency translates into crucial trust issues of reciprocity, conflict and resolution.

     Browse, also:
               the futuring methods of futurological scenario planning.

     

     

    TRIZ

     

    Introduction to Triz

    Including the tools of Attribute Listing and Morphological Analysis, most succinctly, TRIZ, The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, the method of Semyon D. Savransky, is a discipline of solving complex problems systematically and how existing solutions can be reapplied to different but similar problems.

    In 'TRIZ made simple,' Graham Rawlinson exposes the common misconception in practice of how incorporation of various TRIZ activities into whatever process of arriving at solutions, often blithely looses sight of the over all TRIZ process as a whole.

    Breakthrough Thinking is a sequencing of a subset of TRIZ tools included, into relevant steps of a solution procedure, removing their tendency to overlap and hence any ambiguity of which to apply appropriately in any given application.

    There are forty TRIZ principles most often applied to inventive problem solving, even in the widest variety of patents. TRIZ Contradiction Analysis identifies the particulars of how most inventions, like unto fairytales, must strive at the resolution of contradiction, conflicts inherent to situation. The difference is in Reverse Planning, retreating from sheer Fantasy, imaginatively, step by step, via Science Fiction speculation, into practicality, rather than flirting with normatively Surreal self deception as in fairytales.

    Look for the solution within the problem itself: Advanced Systematic Inventive Thinking (ASIT), SUSTAINABILITY & INNOVATION  
     
    TRIZ and social engineering
    The under recognized Philosophical and sociopolitical significance and contribution of TRIZ
     
    Social engineering is a discipline in social science that refers to efforts to influence particular attitudes and social behaviors on the scale of whatever society, in order to produce desired results for said target population. Social engineering, alas, has often become associated with with Utopian and even Utopist ideology in all of its amoral folly and wholesale destructiveness. The term remains ambiguous: On the one hand, 'Utopian' may only refer to any noble aspiration for change bringing about any conceivable excellence in circumstances in the world. Or else Utopism may refer more specifically to a doctrine of infallibility derived from reference and focus upon a perfect ultimate objective, whereby typically the ends are thought to justify the means, with willfully blind and obsessively unflagging fortitude ever to stay the course. Thus by promising the impossible and the unnecessary, do high-minded scoundrels ever evade even the most minimum accountability and pedestrian expectations of minimal responsibility to which private citizens, service providers and public officials are held accountable under democratic civility and the rule of law. Such malignant slight of hand is typically accomplished by entirely removing responsibility not only from sensible concretely feasible minimum standards of conduct and performance, but also from foreseeable consequences, into a realm of perfect and pure abstraction. Such mad and dangerous Utopist thinking remains entirely distinct from what is simply Utopian merely in terms of even laudably embracing high ideals or altruistic ambitions even entirely without the mad dogmatism of Utopist ideology.
     
    One way or another, that which is Utopian is anything of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a Utopia; especially but not necessarily embodying impossibly ideal conditions especially of social organization. Utopist ideology, like religion, despairs of uncertainty, and staves off Nihilism only by partaking in perfectionism and infaliblism, the opposite of which being faliblism which embraces human fallibility and uncertainty with equanimity, even optimism in freedom and autonomy: Better unanswered questions, than unquestioned answers! Thus the opposite of Utopianism need not be cynicism at all.
     
    As Karl Popper observed, whereas sweeping grand schemes inspired by far ranging ideology have failed so catastrophically, in the alternative there is also great progress every day, in decentralized social evolution via incremental improvement or even simply harm reduction, via faliblism and piecemeal engineering that has inspired the George Soros doctrine of constructive positive intervention, all predicated upon the deliberate shortsightedness of addressing immediate and tangible crying human needs and problems in the short term, taking small reversible steps, small actions yielding big results, with evolving falibistic ongoing error detection and course correction made possible by controversy which is the free exchange of criticism among equals. In the famous words of Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, disciple of Carl von Clausewitz: "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy." -nor, for that matter, whatever other sort of antagonist, obstacle or complication. Indeed, in In the words Dwight David 'Ike' Eisenhower: "Plans are nothing, planning is everything."
     
    But another important response to Utopism from the field of engineering, is TRIZ, the Russian theory of inventive problem solving. A notable key observation of TRIZ is how aside from entirely new scientific discoveries, the rarest most important and powerful innovations arise in the transfer and reapplication of knowledge and methods across disciplines. After all, we are all only ignorant in different ways.
     
    Alas how as even Socrates anciently observes, experts in any one field all too often therefore think that they know everything, or at least everything important. Compartmentalization and outright contempt towards one another's differing knowledge sets and skills, rather than competent consultation between experts, remains sadly all too common. Indeed, exactly such acrimonious professional competition instead of responsible cooperation, routinely compromises healthcare. And similarly, contempt and suspicion between technical experts such as engineers and programmers on the one hand, and financial experts, MBAs and marketers on the others, is the frequent kiss of death for otherwise promising entrepreneurship and innovative new venture creation which is of necessity, interdisciplinary.
     
    Living under terrifying oppression and censorship, people become more circumspect and learn to express themselves and communicate obliquely, even to think more deviously. TRIZ dangerously teases and challenges fanatical pseudoscientific Marxism to live up to its scientific pretentions. The full philosophical and political contribution and implications of TRIZ and the bold political science experiment only hinted at, remains unrecognized: nothing less than the cache of science employed in a covert method of redeeming Utopism from infalliblist dogmatism by the surgical substitution of engineering feasibility study and scientific rationalism, for the open ended commitment to ever greater cult dedication, staying the course, that typically characterizes fanatical Utopist ideology.
     
    To this end, TRIZ employs the same vocabulary as Utopism: 'ideal,' but instead as defined in engineering jargon (including social engineering?), denoting not any impossible perfection, but merely any optimum to be discovered, that will first of all be feasible even in very principle. For by that very linguistic intellectual slight of hand, the slippery Metaphysical guiding light and sacred cow of fanatical Utopist ideology, is substituted with something more real and analytical.
     
    Likewise, in Marxism, the quintessential Utopist ideology, contradiction is brutal conflict of interest inherent to inevitable class struggle, whereas in engineering, contradictions are simply design tradeoffs to be resolved by inventive problem solving. You can't eat your cake and have it too, meaning that it is unreasonable to expect to have things both ways and therefore compromise and sacrifice are inevitable. Or so the saying goes. And yet, by inventive problem solving, the aphorism stands refuted every day, by the inventive resolution of design tradeoffs or contradictions: inverse dependence between parameters or characteristics of a machine or a technology. Likewise in political science, and by similar culinary metaphor, it is has been so often advanced that one must break eggs (meaning people) to make an omelet (meaning the achievement of policy objectives). Thus are the means justified by the ends. But perhaps such fanatical brutality is simply uninventive.
     
    The above may all too readily be dismissed as harkening back to the unrealistic Utopian hopes and expectations of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, dashed in the disillusioning rediscovery of daunting human irrationality and madness. As the saying goes: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink! It remains that more inventive, effective and less destructive alternatives have long been known and available for the mitigation of whatever conceivable contradictions. What other desirable design parameters increasingly diminish, with improvements to whatever other desirable design parameters? Such are the challenges to inventive problem solving. E.g., a stronger container becomes heavier, and a more light weight container, more fragile. So: how can a container be designed to be both strong and lightweight? Or in social policy: how can both individual freedom and public security each me maximized simultaneously? How can both the economy and the environment both be optimally nurtured? How can new medicines be better regulated for optimal protection of the public from lethal risk, but with the least detriment towards all freedom to benefit from life saving medical innovation with the minimum of delay? How can providing for the poor and liberating the oppressed become actually productive and profitable, instead of prohibitively expensive and violently destructive? And so forth.
     
    Alas, the mad unreason of Utopism is consistently characterized by pipedreaming often going nowhere. But when repressive Utopist pipedreams actually ever do catch on, there is Hell to pay! -brutality and dogmatism in the fixation of fanatical doctrinal faith that simply ignores the refusal of reality to correspond with the failed expectations of dogma.
     
    Because instead TRIZ offers guidelines for the human endeavor of inventive problem solving, particularly as involves whatever cooperation and collaboration, therefore TRIZ constitutes social engineering as much as mechanical engineering. Appealing to the cachet of technology in surreptitious protest under Stalin when open criticism in Empirical observation of uncomfortable reality were most harshly punished by law, TRIZ makes subtle and subversive import and substitution of linguistic definitions for the same vocabulary, and thereby Epistemological Methodology, all cross-discipline, by which TRIZ all thence undertakes the application of very central responsible engineering question so taboo and anathema in the pipedreams of any Utopist ideologue, also to social engineering: Assessment of both the ideal conditions, meaning whatever feasible optimum even in principle, as well as of current conditions, followed by measuring of the distance between them, in order to begin flexible inventive problem solving, realistic and strategic to bridging that gap and resolving contradictions, meaning design tradeoffs. And contradictions in the sense of conflicting interests even as characteristic of class struggle, can be and often are likewise brought into synergy, inventively.
     
    Alas instead the Utopism of Communism in quest of the New Soviet Man overcoming selfish and sinful human nature, became entirely as Moralistic as Catholicism that it strove to supplant. Whereas Capitalism seeks productive results from amoral enlightened self interest, reason and materialism. Infamously to quote Gordon Gecko: "Greed is good!" In truth, the market place trades only in whatever values we bring. What is proposed to the agenda here on FoolQuest.com, is any protocol of fairly immediate scale social engineering in order to identify and to better and more fully address actual human social stimulus appetites, often still so poorly served by whatever milieu or prevailing socioeconomics.
     

    Q. Want more?

    A Browse:ycotted creativity techniques
    an impressive index listing methods, problem definitions, diverse and sundry exercises ...

     

    Creativity techniques as of fiction writing and collaboration

     

     

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