THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WAY THE AVERAGE PERSON THINKS AND A CREATIVE GENIUS THINKS

Sparkling with ideas and insights!

Imagineer7's Weblog

Once we have settled on a perspective, we close off but one line of thought. Certain kinds of ideas occur to us, but only those kinds and no others. What if the crippled man who invented the motorized cart had defined his problem as: “How to occupy my time while lying in bed?” rather than “How to get out of bed and move around the house?”

Leonardo Da Vinci believed that to gain knowledge about the form of problems, you began by approaching the problem on its own terms. He felt the first way he looked at a problem was too biased toward his usual way of seeing things. He would restructure his problem by looking at it from one perspective and move to another perspective and still another. With each move, his understanding would deepen and he would begin to understand the essence of the problem. Da Vinci discovered…

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Are you more creative when you are sleepy?

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Photo: Flickr feck_aRt_post

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

Edward de Bono

Breaking pattern is a way to get unexpected solutions to your problems and to create unexpected ideas. To survive in the world, we look for patterns and we create patterns. Patterns dictate what we do and our daily life is regulated by patterns.

There are several techniques that can we use to break thinking patterns such as random words. But the environment and the time of the day might also influence how successful we are in breaking established patterns

Exhaustion can spur creativity and help us break patterns. When we are tired, we just do not care. Instead of thinking about perfecting what it is we are working on our brains end up jumping around, accepting ideas and new paths of thinking. It is a bit like we are running wild and our frontal lobes cannot stop our ideas.

Photo Matt Davenport

Circadian rhythm is an approximately 24 – hour cycle that determines our sleeping and feeding patterns. Cultural norms mean that most of us follow a routine – we get up with the sun and we go to bed when the moon rises in the sky. This specific pattern has influenced the way different regions in our brains work. The frontal cortex is a part of the brain that is very fussy and when we get tired our working memory loses some of its sharpness. The frontal cortex does not shut down but it does not process everything that is happening around you.

Since our frontal cortex is not focusing on sorting new incoming information from our environment, there is energy for other parts of our brains to play around freely. In short, by blocking our working memory and our brains ability to sieve through various information increase and we can break thinking patterns.

Of course, there is people who are not more creative at night. They simply have a different pattern and by breaking their specific pattern, they might be able to let ideas run around more freely.

So when you are trying to do creative work, you will have more lucky when your brain is not functioning efficiently. Personally, I love to read a couple of sententes in a book when I am tired and then I explore all sort of possibilities. Most ideas are utter nonsense but they often put a smile on my face before I fall asleep. And no, it does not seem to matter what sort of book I read!

Book Tips

The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain

 

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Tyres Inspired by Nature

Tyres!

How can you improve tyres?

How can you bring a significant positive change that successfully solves problems related to travelling?

What does travelling look like in the future?

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The theme in 2016 for the Design Innovation was”Connect to the Connected World” and the focus on presenting a vision of future mobility. Hankook makes tyres so the changes in mobility should use tyres.

This is a great thinking exercise, where you are forced to improve upon something that already exists. Looking for better, more efficient, and desirable ways to be mobile in future mega cities.
The picture above shows a the Flexup that explores ways that you can redesign tyres to deal with obstacles that are present in cities, such as stairs. I would love these types of tyres on my bicycle! These tyres use divided treads that expand or contract to deal with stairs.

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The Autobine is a self-driving bus concept where the number of passengers determines how many tyres that are going to be used. The tyres are attached or detached. An intelligent tyre that detects the weight and then attaches itself to the body of the bus.

What sort of tyres can you design? Which obstacles does your tyre try to overcome or minimise?

Why not use these video as inspiration?

The News is Broken – Thinkibility Nibble about WikiTribune

Is WikiTribune the answer to fake news?

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has launched a crowd-funding campaign for WikiTribune. A “wiki-style” attack on the fake news by using professional journalists and community contributors to produce “fact-checked, global news stories”.

Fakes news and the role that social media networks play in spreading has resulted in several suggestions about ways to combat these problems. There are fact checking networks where humans flag news and even sites that are spreading false news. Google, Facebook and Twitter have made attempts to tweak their algorithms to combat the problems related to fake news. This tweaking is not to be the same as censorship rather “. . . a bit like a spam folder in your email, those emails still sit there, but you have to go to your spam folder to look for it,” says Claire Wardle of journalism non-profit First Draft News.

Yet, perhaps the involvement of humans is needed to deal with a problem of this character. At least at the moment, a combination of algorithms and human experience might provide the best solution.

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Photo: Hrag Vartanian

WikiTribune relies only on humans and an army of contributors will help individual journalists vet the facts by using a wide range of sources such as transcripts, videos and audio interviews. The business model is based on monthly subscriptions that will help to pay the journalists.

This sounds like a good idea, yet, there are of course always problems when you look for the truth (see Greyscale Thinking). What happens if the professional journalists start writing about the news that the subscribers do not like? Supporters are asked to put forward suggestions on topics, and what happens if the topics suggested are put forward by extreme organisations that what to highlight their own issues?

Articles are only going to be published on WikiTribune if the facts can be verified. This sounds great but there is also a danger in restricting the topics. In today’s world, news both true and fake is quickly spread around the globe. In some cases, you want a quick response to certain kind of news, for example, during an election. An election campaign is by its nature filled with propaganda.

Jimmy says that WikiTribune is “news by the people and for the people”.  Professional journalists and citizen journalists working together checking and re-checking facts. The community is given an important role, however, finding a balance between the contributions of professional journalists and the community is the main issue.

Also, reaching the people who have already fallen into the fake news vortex is going to be extremely tricky with this approach. Perhaps WikiTribune will be supported and read by individuals who need it the least. People who already have developed the skills and are using tools to spot fake news.

Want to read more about this topic? Why not check out fake news, press patterns and biases in mainstream media?

Wikitribune Campaign from impossible on Vimeo.

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Decision-Making in Animal Communities – Remodelling Global Cooperation

“There is a way,  if we allow ourselves to be guided by nature’s optimism and nature’s wisdom.”

Jay Harman, The Shark’s Paintbrush, p. 289.

In this blogpost, we will explore ways that nature can provide inspiration for The Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape. We will focus the attention on swarm intelligence.

Bees use real-time negotiation to make decisions. Humans often have a less accurate approach to making predictions and to decision making. We use polls and votes, we polarise things.”Instead of finding common ground, they force us to entrench in predictions and make it harder for us to find the best answer for the group.” Louis Rosenberg

Organisations like the UN are getting bigger and this is problematic. Since the formation of the UN in 1945, the UN system, or the UN families, have added issues that they are dealing with, for example, sustainability and climate change.

You can see an interesting sketch below from 1943 by Franklin Roosevelt of the UN original three branches: The Four Policemen, an executive branch, and an international assembly of forty UN member states.

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Photo By Franklin D. Roosevelt – Franklin D. Roosevelt Library & Museum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40093370

“Organizations can’t keep growing the way we structure them today.”

Tamsin Wolley-Barker compares organisations to dinosaurs. Dinosaurs needed huge bones to support their weight and the more weight, the more bones, and the more weight. In the end, the dinosaurs were too big.

“In regards to relative bone strength, the larger animals are at a much greater risk of breaking their bones than the smaller animals. The likelihood that a broken bone will cut an animal’s life short is a strong possibility for the larger animals. This possibility of broken bones affecting the animal’s survival thus becomes a limitation on the size of the largest animals.” From “The problem with big dinosaurs.

Management is like a skeleton that supports an organisation so that it does not collapse. But when an organisation grows the cost of management is escalating, which could be problematic.

Also, a  more worrying trend when an organisation grows is that the ability to change quickly declines.

Nature uses hierarchies all the time as a way to prevent things from changing.  Animal societies have dominance hierarchy. However, research suggests that cooperation is impeded among chimpanzees as compared to cottontop tamarins. Chimpanzees live in steep and linear hierarchies in contrast to the more relaxed form of hierarchies that cottontop tamarins use.

Hierarchies may be important and there are ways to build a better hierarchy but if you want to build an organisation that can easily adapt to change, it is not an optimal structure. Hierarchies limits growth. Thus, to re-envision global governance for the challenges that face us in the 21st century, we need to develop new models.

Can animals provide any inspiration for new models of global cooperation?

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Photo Subith Premdas

Teams of ants, termites or bees are often used as inspiration to explore how organisations work. Ants termites and bees are organisms with colonies consisting of sometimes millions of individuals. Yet together these work as a single organism. The labour is divided and one individual is helpless and cannot survive for long. By working together these organisms create abundance in harsh environments. They find a way of using things that often are overlooked by other creatures.

These animals use an open-ended structure that is dynamic and which allows them to quickly respond to changes in the environment. Yet, they lack a commander. They survive, or at least appears to, without making any forecasts and budgets. Instead, there is a smooth adaption to change, where all the individual creatures are contributing. The interactions between ants, termites and bees might be simple, nevertheless, together they can solve difficult problems.

Social insects have the following characteristics:

  • flexibility
  • robustness
  • self-organization

Social organisms can quickly adapt to change and even when one or more individuals in the group fail to achieve the task, the group can still perform the task. Finally, the activities performed by the group are neither centrally controlled nor or they locally supervised.

Using this approach to decision-making as inspiration to design global cooperation may indeed be a challenge.

A challenge, fun and above all perhaps a  necessary approach. We all know deep in our hearts that we face many problems. The future viability of our race is in danger. Nature constantly reinvents itself. We need to reinvent global cooperation with a similar irresistible optimism.

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Photo By Neptuul – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31552107

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World Governance Challenge – $5 million

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The Global Challenges Foundation, founded by the Swedish billionaire László Szombatfalvy, has launched an international competition in order to find a better system for world governance. The Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape is calling on individuals, groups of individuals, universities, companies or associations from anywhere in the world to submit proposals outlining an alternative world governance model – either by revising the present UN system or by proposing completely new forms of governance. A total of US $5 million will be distributed amongst the shortlisted entries and The Foundation is committed to supporting the winning ideas towards.

As we are never impressed by the huge complexity of a thinking challenge – or at least pretend not to be, nor impressed by the very experts that have given it some thinking. So we will try – just for fun, for building up further Thinkibility skills while gathering some knowledge about the working of world governance mechanisms.

How to start?

We know one thing for sure (but we are of optimistic): We will never come up with better ideas than the experts and people who have already extensively thought about systems of world governance. So, we must be smart and have to rely on creative thinking techniques, instead of accepted scientific theories and critical thinking. We will take advantage of the curses of experience we earlier wrote about.

Preparing the thinking is a very important step. Therefore, we made a mindmap where we can collectively put all notes we have, in some categories.

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  • The Challenge. What is the focus of the thinking? To really understand what ideas are solicited for and avoiding coming up with brilliant ideas for the wrong problems.
  • The Criteria. What are the criteria the solution must meet? Criteria narrow the thinking task and make it more specific.
  • Available information. Here we put all we find about the current operating of world governing bodies, their problems,  like Wikipedia entries, news articles, scientific reports, etc. We will be extra alert of what is “left out”. What is not mentioned, what is relevant information, but not available.
  • Current thinking. As our first orientation of the problem progress, we get some notions of recurrent themes, sought solutions or ideas for improvement. We know that one of the easiest ways to get ideas is to escape from the current way of doing things. At this time we only notice them. At a later time, we will spell out what assumptions are underlying current thinking.
  • Departing points. After some reading and playing around, mostly there will emerge some “entry points”. For example some defining characteristics of the situation that are inviting us for some provocative thinking.
  • Beginning ideas. At the same time some hunches, associations and possible metaphors will enter the brain, and we make it a disciplined habit to write these down, how primitive and incoherent, even childish they might be formulated.

Now we have prepared our mindset and can we carefully design some 20 minutes Idea Boosts after we have broken down the subject in some well-defined Idea Sensitive Areas.

If you like to join us, send us a mail, and we give you access to our workspace.

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Grow your own House! Plants and Robots working together

What if you could grow your own house?

flora robotica is an exciting project funded under the EU-Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies Proactive Action. The aim is to develop and investigate a symbiotic relationship between plants and robots. One idea is to develop plant-robots that can build and create living spaces and architectural artefacts.

The tricky bit is to control the growth so that the plants grow in the desired shapes. The team has explored the idea to grow plants through white scaffolding with black strips woven into it to help guide the shape. The strips have LED lights and sensors that lure the plants to grow into shapes that have been pre-programmed. Computers and 3D-printed nodes constantly monitor the growth.

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This is a long-term building project and with the interaction of humans, the plants and robots create meaningful architectural structures. Patience is needed, and it may take around 40 years to build your house. But maybe a super fast growing plant can be used!

This is a symbiotic relationship and robot support and controls the biological plants at the same time the biological plant guides the robotic plant through growth towards for example light. The plant also provides support for the weight of the robot during the later growth phases.

The team at flora robotica are also exploring ways to weave braided structures. These structures could result in the development of bendable arms.  Similar to puppets’ arms that move when someone pulls a string.

What would you like to grow?

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