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I had a dream ... and I blame the Open University

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 15:06

Fig. 1. A mash-up in Picasa of a 3D laser generated image generated at the Design Museum during their 'Digital Crystal' exhibition.

The image exists and is transformed by the presence of the observer in front of a Kinex device making this a one-off and an expression or interpretation of that exact moment.

'Working with dreams' and 'Keeping a dream journal' are taught creative problem solving techniques at the Open University Business School. I did B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' in 2012 (Henry et al 2010). I have the problem solving toolkit. I even got a hardback copy of VanGundy's book on creative problem solving.

Using your unconscious isn't difficult. Just go to bed early with a 'work' related book and be prepared to write it down when you stir.

I woke soon after 4.00am.

I'd nodded off between 9.30 and 11.30 so feel I've had my sleep.

Virtual bodies for first year medical students to work on, an automated mash-up of your 'lifelog' to stimulate new thinking and the traditional class, lecture and university as a hub for millions - for every student you have in a lecture hall you have 1000 online.

Making it happen is another matter.

I'm writing letters and with far greater consideration working on a topic or too for research.

"Nights through dreams tell the myths forgotten by the day." — C.G. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

How to work with a dream or metaphorical image:

  • Enter the dream
  • Study the dream
  • Become the images
  • Integrate the viewpoints
  • Rework the dream

Appreciating, reflecting, looking forward and emerging

REFERENCE

Glouberman, D. (1989) Life Choices and Life Changes Through Imagework, London, Unwin, pp. 232-6

Henry, J., Mayle, D., Bell, R., Carlisle, Y. Managing Problems Creatively (3rd edn) 2010. The Open University.

Isaacson, W. (2011) Steve Jobs. Little Brown.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of structured problem solving (2nd edn), New York: Van Nostran Reinhold.

 

 

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Time to celebrate

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Two celebrate completing H810 I have bought myself this. Christopher Alexander is often quotes during the Masters in Open and Distance Education - to design e-learning is like constructing a building.

The%2520Timeless%2520Way%2520of%2520Building.JPG

And then because it's Amazon I find there is another treat, going back a year, from B822 Creativity, Innovation and Change.

Techniques%2520of%2520Structured%2520Problem%2520Solving.JPG

The only problem is - we have no shelves. None. Our last house I had a 'study' with floor to ceiling shelves and as many books. Five years after moving the books are still in storage ...

I do books. E-Books. Shelves are redundant. Even a small room can look big if it doesn't feature a stack of books.

I recommend both.

I always ask this, and often respond by going out to get the book in question, but do you have a book you'd recommend?

P.S. I have signed up for H809: Practise Based Educational Technology ... so you got me for a few more months. (If I get onto a PhD programme I might be here for another three years ... )

 

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B822 Techniques Library: Using 'Crazy' Ideas

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012, 07:15

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Ken Dodd

Ideas that could get you fired if suggested or are lauigh out loud funny; so there's a risk. (Techniques Library 2010)

Developed by Rickards (1974) as 'Wildest Idea' and de Bono (1982) as 'Intermediate impossible'.

Why beneficial?

  • They break down assumptions.
  • The humour can energise a group and trigger more ideas (inlcuding some unthought of that might work)

Use these techniques:

  • Brainstroming
  • Free Association
  • Excusrsion

Treat it seriously to see where it takes you

Don't get stuck on a non-starter (but aren't they all implicitally a non-starter if they are going to get you fired or ar laughable?)

REFERENCE

Rickards, T. (1974) Problem-solving Through Creative Analysis, Essex, UK, Gower Press.

de Bono, E. (1982) Later Thinkking for Management, Pelican Books.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed. Van Nostranran Reinhold. Technique 4.61. p. 202


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B822 BK2 Technique Library 'Fresh Eye' and Networking

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 07:17

Don't get stuck in a specific way of doing things.

Get people with no idea of what the problem is about to take a look.

Encourage or permit niave ideas.

Makes me think of Clancy in 'Being There'.

Use the WWW. (Ask in Linkedin, Quora etcsmile

More from VanGundy (1988)

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B822 BK2 Technique Library for creative problem solving

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 16:38

B822 Technique Library

My mother has always had a large drawer in a sideboard full of board games: Risk, Monopoly, Twister, Cluedo and Othello, and at some stage Chartbuster, Kerplunk, Masterpiece, Mousetrap and others.

Having picked my way through the B822 Creativity Innovation and Change ‘Technique Library’ A5 folder I feel I am looking into this drawer.

IDEA ONE: VISUALISATION

We have a large ‘Really Useful Box’ full of board games too.

In order to appreciate the game, to know if you like or loathe it, to know who would or would not enjoy it, you have to get them out and have a play. Over time attitudes to a game change. People take on a persona, you expect a certain kind of performance out of them. I rarely win at Monopoly because I buy everything until I run out of money.

Returning to the idea of a collection of board games I would far prefer a colourful pack of A5 cards, on one face an image, perhaps a colourful, humorous Steven Appleby cartoon, on the other the ‘game’.

The B822 Techniques ‘Library’ of assembled cards, ideas, folder is ‘like a collection of board games’ you might find at your Mum’s, in a box in the garage, or stacked on a cloakroom shelf in a holiday cottage. You get them out when you are bored, or in this case, stuck for an idea.

Middle Farm sells many varieties of cider and perry.

There is no catalogue. You cannot taste a list of titles. You collect a tasting cup and try out a selection; you get stuck in. You can ask the experts behind the counter, when you have something to discuss.

The B822 Techniques ‘Library’ of assembled cards, ideas, folder is ‘like a cider distillery’ where, to get beyond the titles and cataloguing, especially the false preference given by alphabetical order, you have to ‘have a taste’ and come to your own opinion.

My approach, against the advice, has been to read through them all. I remain tempted to take them all out and glue them inside pieces of card on which I will do a doodle or stick an image.

My first selection, my inquisitive mind, likes the look of :

Analogies

A succinct definition is required: A form of logical inference or an instance of it, based on the assumption that if two things are known to be alike in some respects, then they must be alike in other respects. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/analogy)

There is an albatross airplane, this one in the USAF. It looks like a Puffin or a Dodo.

I would never liken a Jumbo jet to an albatross as the bird already has negative connotations. You cannot see it for its history. You shoot the thing and hang it around your neck.

A puffin or cormorant then.

Does anyone need to be told why a Jumbo jet and an albatross are not alike?

Filling in the blanks and sticking with the albatross I get the improbably sentence, ‘This problem makes me think of an albatross – that suggests to me that maybe we could try feathers (idea drawn from albatross)’. Sounds like a dead duck. Are there planes that were an albatross?

Perhaps Leonardo Da Vinci thought of a plane as a bird?

Were I to be introduce the concept of analogies to a group I would start with a blank sheet, seeking out people’s favourite analogies for everyday situations or problems and build from there. There’s a problem if you set in train a thought, here ornithological. Before you know it all the ideas are tits and boobies, eagles and dodos.

‘Try to find core verb phrase that captures the essential functional nature of what you are looking for’ (Martin & Bell, 2010). (There are no page numbers, so how do you reference it?)

If analogies taught the world to think, then promoted like this I would conclude that to use an analogy with its ‘analogues’ (sic) is akin to painting by numbers. It is present in such an unnecessarily analytical manner.

Definition: An analogue is: something analogous to something else (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/analogue)

How can a simple concept me made to sound like something carried out by an audit team from the local firm of accountants. It sounds painful rather than fun.

I have to look up (q.v) as in quo vid, or ‘which see’.

I track down the reference to Gordon by ‘going to see’ Synectics, a software version as ThoughtPath exists.

· Are you dealing with the person who owns the problem?

· Are they looking for a number of solutions

· Establish the team

If ‘analogies are often used very informally’ then an informal, rather than this proposed formal approach should be offered.

1. What is it you want ideas for?

2. Based on the verb phrases list items that it is like

3. Pick an interesting one

4. Describe the analogy

Gordon (1961) identified four types:

· Direct

· Symbolic

· Fantasy

· Personal

IDEA TWO: MIND-MAP

IDEA THREE: RELATIONAL DATABASE

I would put all these problems onto a wall chart. I’d put everything online into a blog that could be searched by tag (or key word), or load them into a relational database such as FilemakerPro.

Twenty years ago (perhaps fifteen?) I used a CD-ROM called 'Ideafisher' to help generate ideas. I treated it as the equivalent of a mental tickling stick, not a set of answers, but a potential catalyst that would open up my mind (sometimes too far).

 

REFERENCE

Gordon, W.J.J. (1961) Synectics, New York, Harper & Row.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed, Van Norstrand Reinhold. Techniques 4.01, 4.06, 4.57

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B822 BK 2 C2 Problems and challenges

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 19 Aug 2012, 21:33

Problem, opportunity, challenge, issue, concern ...

I've been professionally lodged in calling everything a problem to be solved. I may think this through and stick to this concept. I was introduced to the Creative Brief at JWT, London in the mid 1980s. Through Design & Art Direction (D&AD) workshops, then a year, full-time at the School of Communication Arts the 'problem' as the preferred, indeed the only term, was reinforced.

The advertising Creative Brief goes:

What is the problem?

What is the opportunity?

Who are you speaking to?

What do you want to say?

How do you want them to react to this message?

What else do you need to know?

I have seen no reason to change this, indeed some 135+ video productions later, information films, training films, change management, product launch, lecture, you name it ... the same set of questions, answered on a SINGLE SIDE of A4 governs the initial client meetings. If we cannot get it onto a single sheet, then we haven't the focus to deliver a clear response. Back to the drawing board.

It works.

From the agreed Creative Brief I then write a synopsis or two, the ideas are shared and I go off and prepare a treatment or two; I offer alternatives. Then, with agreement on the treatment, based always on how well it lives up to the brief, I go off and write a script. Sometimes the script is visualisation and dialogue (voice over, interviews transcripts even dramatisation), usually very little needs to be changed at this stage; the script is a direct expression of what was agreed in the treatment. We then produce (shoot, post-produce) and review the end result. Once again, a fail-safe process that only sees the product improved upon at each stage.

It works.

So why is this page of this chapter an Epiphany?

I guess, because I know that some clients struggle with the term 'problem'. I stubbornly refuse to accept an alternative and argue my case. Yet apparently there is a case. Or is there? VanGundy (1988) rightly suggests that

p18 'Each of these different terms expresses its own metaphor for what is involved and suggests its own slightly different ways of working'. Henry et al. (2010:18)

To be a problem there needs to be a 'gap' between what is desired and the current position. VanGundy (1988:04)

Why would I change what has always worked?

When I bring with my argument decades of experience from the most successful, persuasive and memorable communicators of all? This 'Creative Brief is an industry standard.

My view is that if there isn't a problem, there is no need to do x, y or z. Anything less than 'problem' diminishes the nature and ambition of the communications challenge (here I argue that internal and external communications, PR, marketing and advertising, are all on the same spectrum: you are trying to persuade people).

Think of problems and solutions as part of an extended hierarchy.

We then get into 'Gap Analysis'

p19 'The imperative that drives creative people can transform the theoretical 'what could be' into a more powerfully motivating 'what should be'.

Then drift away from the challenge when the 'problem' is no longer (in my view of things) considered a communications issue.

p24 The problem exists in the overlap between ourselves and the situation ... this means that solutions can often be as much a mater of changing ourselves as changing the external situation'.

  1. Change the situation
  2. Change yourself
  3. Get out
  4. Learn to live with it

As an external supplier, a communications problem fixer, then only point 1 can apply, which becomes an argument for the extensive use of external suppliers. Think about it, do you want someone to address the problem/challenge you take to them, or shilly-shally about, making do, dodging it or making themselves absent?

p26 'Play' - the dynamic gap between vision and reality.

Activity 2.1 (p16)

Frustration over having an audio-cassette to listen to. By sharing the problems it was resolved.

Cause: keeping up with the technology

Ans: A problem shared is a problem halved. Ease of relationships.

p17 'A densely interconnected part of a huge web of issues and concerns that change and develop over time and may transform radically in appearance depending on your viewpoint'.

Spend a few minutes identifying some of the features of this story that might perhaps generalise to other situations and that:

  • helped to generate the challenge
  • helped to overcome it.

Solving 'problems' however, is not as clear-cut as a specific problem relate to communications.

I need more of VanGundy. Is he free from the OU Library? Or even an not too expensive download as an eBook to the Kindle and iPad. Despite admonitions to spend less time reading and more time addressing the practical side of Block 2, I feel I have to read on, to investigate an issue (oops, problem, I mean) that has bugged me for more than 25 years.

REFERENCE

Henry, J., Mayle, D., Bell, R., Carlisle, Y. Managing Problems Creatively (3rd edn) 2010. The Open University.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of structured problem solving (2nd edn), New York: Van Nostran Reinhold.

 

 


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