Tag Archives: algorithms

Algorithms for Ideas

Free thinking

Creation requires influence

I am learning fast that if I expect brilliant ideas to invade my mind in one single moment of inspiration without opening up myself to other influences I may be sorely disappointed. The very term algorithms makes me inwardly groan. But thankfully, our university  tutors are taking us by the hand after a period of introspection to learn how to apply simple tools to creativity and innovation. Enter mind-mapping and SCAMPER.

Mind-mapping is one tool I have been exposed to in my working environment but I have suddenly been inspired to use it for other aspects of my life in a positive way such as diet and exercise. From a central point – a key element is used to generate ideas by creating several branches/categories that then create off-shoots for other thoughts and contributions in an uninhibited way. Type mind-mapping into your search engine and be amazed by the artistry and inspired end products. While I can marvel at some complex and beautifully executed pieces of work, it is not necessary to achieve the goal of capturing new ideas. The important part is getting it down on paper and having something tangible to work from. In group work this can be the basis of learning to think in a new way. If people want to add decorative bits that’s OK as long as it can trigger thought processes. I have learned that using curved lines is better than straight lines, but I doubt my financial planner would agree who has created a wonderful flow chart to map out my future finances.

Turning my attention to using SCAMPER as a tool was a new approach. At first one feels it’s a bit childish but it does provide an opportunity to “think outside the square”. Using each letter is a prompt to formulate ideas; S for substitute, C for combine, A for adapt, M for modify, P for put to other uses, E for eliminate and R for reverse.  Sounds too simple? You can use images or words to generate ideas.  There are YouTube online clips on how SCAMPER works on something as humble as a packet of popular chocolate coated multi-coloured sweets.  Maybe this is how product development works? Come up with weird and wonderful ideas to reinvent a product to tempt consumers with something new and innovative for an item they are already using.

Mind-mapping seems to be suited to all different types of problem solving while SCAMPER appears more useful for products. Any way, I’m willing to give it a go if it can give me new insights to being more creative.

 

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants – Isaac Newton