Friday, July 23, 2010
A Creative Loafing Technique
My favorite technique is one that is best for generating new ideas rather than solving specific problems. It can be used in any area of life. It is simply the imagining of new applications for existing ideas.
Once, while laying on the couch, I saw an advertisement for a company that uses a dog to find mold in your house. You may know that dogs can be trained to sniff out almost anything. There was even a news story a year or two ago about a dog that could detect if you had cancer.
What was my first thought? "I wonder what else dogs could find by smell?" The first idea that came to mind was to use dogs to find other pets. They find lost people so well, so why not have a service to find lost pets? just one sniff of the cats favorite rug, and the dog is on the trail.
A Creative Loafing Example
You can certainly use your relaxing times to just randomly ponder things, but why not put creative loafing together with a good idea-generating technique. Then you can lay under a tree and have an endless stream of creative new ideas. For this "new-application technique," just start with the essence of the idea, and look for new ways to use it.
For example, you might lay there and think about the pneumatic tubes that deliver your money and papers at a bank's drive-through. The essence is a cartridge that delivers things through a tube using air pressure. I imagine the same thing would work for human transport. Could you ride "the tube" to the next city, or maybe make this into an amusement park ride?
Look other aspects of an idea too. For example, these tubes allow several customers to be waited on at once. Where else do they need this? A fast food drive through comes to mind. Perhaps pneumatic tubes would spill drinks, but the idea of multiple car lanes can be used. Several drive-through windows, radiating out like spokes, at different angles, would allow three different lines of cars.
If you want to practice using this technique, just lay back and...
- Imagine three new uses for pedal-power.
- Imagine two new uses for magnets.
- Think of a new application for Darwin's theory of natural selection, outside of biology.
Can you see how easy it is to come up with new ideas? Why not learn a few more techniques? Then apply them to personal problems. Finally, to make the best use of your creative loafing time, keep a notebook or your personal recorder ready.