Several days ago I read a post speaking about the creativity as a metaphor of children brick games. It described the creativity as something which must be build little by little using your experience as a raw material.
It brought to my mind a creativity technique which actually works like a brick game, using words as pieces which combined with each others release unexpected results. The name of this technique is “two words”. You must choose several words linked to the challenge you are trying to solve, and looking for several combinations is the way to get ideas. Let’s see the process to be followed.
1) Set the challenge. Describe it in a short sentence. An example may be “reducing garbage produced by families”.
2) Summarize the challenge by trying to condense its meaning with a verb and a noun. In our example this is quite easy since it could be summed up as “reducing garbage”.
3) Look up for synonyms for each word. Our example leads to cut back, trim or bring down, and waste, junk or scrap.
4) Combine the words to create new meanings. The list of synonyms in our example leads to cut back waste, cut back junk, cut back scrap, trim waste, trim junk, trim scrap, bring down waste, bring down junk and bring down scrap.
5) Get inspiration from these combinations and focus on the initial challenge to find creative approaches and solutions.
Cut back wastes. How about allocating dumping areas for each city as a ratio of the population. the more inhabitants, the more available terrain. If you exceed your garbage production, you must pay other cities for rental of their dumping area. This means higher taxes for the citizen who pollute more. It’s a way to involve citizenship in the garbage reduction, isnt’ it?
Trim junk. Since a junk is a Chinese ship and hence a transport, why not thinking of reducing the garbage trucks? It may be the service (every other day instead of daily service) or the size of the truck. The result is the same, if you contaminate two much, the service cannot remove all of the garbage which is produced. So, your street will be dirty unless you control the amount of wastes you generate.
Bring scrap down. Down enough? Maybe under the earth? Why not forcing the people to use their backyard as dumping area? They should dig trenches and throw away their wastes. Once a year the soil would be removed by the community cleaning service and they could start again. If the garbage production is too much, the family would have a problem because it could not manage the amount of waste generated. And for people who do live in buildings, how about a communal place for all of the neighbors?
As you can see many imaginative combination arise. We are not judging the quality of the solutions -which is something belonging to a later stage- but the diversity of ideas that words combination can lead to. Try it because it’s a very simple method which provides surprising solutions.
Hail to the creativity!