Assemble Ideas Ideatively
Imagine for a moment that you’re a child at play. Imagine that you are playing with building blocks, of which you have a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and even systems. The connectors don’t all match because they are from different systems, but that is okay; in fact it is great. You build a bridge, but it’s a normal bridge and you want a unique structure, so you switch the pieces around and create a bridge that flies, and that’s unique… The bridge will be more fun with the toy cars so you add them and use an apple to block the road so those cars need the bridge to fly away, and of course you need someone in a space suit to try to shoot down your bridge with their stapler laser gun.
This analogy demonstrates how as children we saw relationships among objects and bits of information where relationships did not previously exist, and often really shouldn’t exist. An apple is not a toy and bridges don’t fly, yet in the example you just read the child played with the apple and made the bridge fly. When you Assemble Ideas in Your Ideative Workshop – your brain – you are fitting pieces together, blocks of information to form Ideas. You fit pieces together that belong together and you fit pieces together that shouldn’t go together, just like a child at play.
Ideative Creativity: Gather blocks of information. Assemble the blocks into unique configurations.
Before launching into Assemble you need to prime your brain with the raw materials that are the blocks of Experience and Knowledge gained through the activities of Inundate, Deviate From Your Routines, and Enhance. You need to Inundate to build a large volume of blocks, Deviate From Your Routines to build a diverse collection of blocks, and Enhance your blocks of Experience and Knowledge to make each block as Vivid as possible.
You have probably been through an event where a great idea just pop into your head. Though you didn’t realize it at the time, you were probably doing or recently been doing something along the lines of Inundate and Deviate, and either while Assembling or during a period of relaxation the idea came to you.
When you have done your Inundation and Deviate well, Ideas will very often just pop into your head – The Ideative SuperNova. For those other times, there are methods and tools for Assembling Ideas.
A. Begin by thinking through the building blocks you have already collected for your Ideative subject. If you need to write thoughts down then Mind Maps, 2×2 matrices, branch diagrams and flow charts are great if you know how to use them. Regular notes on paper or in your head are just fine if you are not familiar with those techniques. Team discussions enable sharing blocks. Collaboration of this sort creates a form of Ideative super brain.
You now have at your disposal, in your mind or the minds of your group, the equivalent of every size shape and color of building block in your inventory, a variety of custom made shapes and colors and numerous odd and end pieces from bolts and string to fine jewels, furniture, electronics; every block of Experience and Knowledge from Inundate and Deviate.
B. Arrange your thoughts on a whiteboard, a desk or in your mind just as a child would spread their toys around the floor. This is where mind maps and white boards or poster paper can literally act as blocks of information. Put as many details onto board or paper as possible so that you can take the information in visibly. Explore what you have. Talk about what you have with your group, or to yourself; engage speech and your sense of hearing. If you have stories, facts, or visuals bring those in to stimulate additional senses and emotions. If your work involves some site of significance then work at that site. For example, if you are working to improve plant efficiency, work at the plant. NEVER go off site.
Put a few items together, pull some sections apart and reassemble them in a different way. Keep anything that looks like an Idea.
The goal is to assemble numerous combinations of inputs into Ideas, capturing those Ideas with promise, modifying those that are close, and throwing the few Assembled pieces that did not work but that you find interesting enough to keep together into the pile for use as part of another approach – “I don’t like this wing for my spaceship, but Wow!, if I add a few red blocks, a paper clip and weld it to a mother board I have a great robot construction toy.”
You have more, better Ideas and you and your people understand how to repeat the process of generating Ideative SuperNovas and Assembling Ideas in the future and in every area of their work.
You are on your way to embedding The Ideative Process into your corporate DNA.