So I’m working on a thing.
A while back I came up with an idea – Creativity Cards is what I called them. It was a working title. I never bothered to come up with a final name because it turned out that the basic premise already existed; Oblique Strategy Cards by Brian Eno.
These cards offer creative strategies. You’re dealing with a creative task and you want some new impetus? Pull out a card and follow whatever instruction it offers. It could be something like “Replace specifics with generic terms” or “Use a solution from another subject area” (I’m paraphrasing rather than quoting here).
But creativity is one of those areas where being entirely original is nice but not essential. The fact that something akin to what I had imagined already existed wasn’t a complete disaster. If anything it proved that the idea was sound. All I had to do was take it to another level.
So thats why I’m working on a thing.
I’m not going to throw out the initial idea. It sucks that Eno got there first (first Ambient Music and now this!) but he doesn’t own the “bits of advice” patent as far as I know. I’m going to build on it.
Firstly, the No Wrong Answers Nudge Deck (nWand – the ‘n’ is silent) will be online. I intend to host a page on http://www.sabretoothpanda.com in the soon to be created No Wrong Answers section which will display various hint and tips when you load it, drawn randomly from a database which I will add to over time. There will be a “do another one” button to bring up a new hint or tip. This is the start.
The first junction along the roadmap will be sharing buttons allowing you to share whatever genius suggestion comes up with friends on social media or via email.
Junction 2 will be to add accounts that people can sign into when using the nWand. These accounts will allow people to look back at the stuff they’ve already seen and save their favourites for later. They will also allow what I am calling, Junction 3.
Junction 3 is where nWand becomes more than just a hints and tips app and moves towards being a proper collaboration tool. Many great creative techniques require or work best with input from others. Junction 3 adds friends lists and collaborators to your account allowing you to involve others in your activity.
For example, you may get something like “Reword your problem five different ways” with the option to ask other people to reword your problem for you. Select four friends, type out your initial problem statement and let them respond with their new ways to express it. Another example would be “Ask a random friend for an idea/answer” which would automatically choose a random person from your contacts to email.
The other advantages of doing this online include the use of other types of input and devices. nWand could select a random page from Wikipedia and ask you to figure out how it relates to your challenge, choose from a selection of creative problem solving blogs, videos or papers and ask you to read or watch them for inspiration, set time limits for activities with automatic countdowns running on the page.
I have the basic code for the page ready to go (thanks to my friend Mike Hedges) so, all being well, the nWand V1 should be up and running very shortly. My aim is to have it available for players at the next No Wrong Answers quiz on the 30th of September.