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The Spark File – The Writer’s Room – Medium
"The problem with hunches is that it's incredibly easy to forget them, precisely because they're not fully-baked ideas. You're reading an article, and a little spark of an idea pops into your head, but by the time you've finished the article, you're checking your email, or responding to some urgent request from your colleague, and the next thing you know, you've forgotten the hunch for good. And even the ones that you do manage to retain often don't turn out to be useful to you for months or years, which gives you countless opportunities to lose track of them.

This is why for the past eight years or so I've been maintaining a single document where I keep all my hunches: ideas for articles, speeches, software features, startups, ways of framing a chapter I know I'm going to write, even whole books. I now keep it as a Google document so I can update it from wherever I happen to be. There's no organizing principle to it, no taxonomy--just a chronological list of semi-random ideas that I've managed to capture before I forgot them. I call it the spark file."

I'm starting this.
spark  creativity  writing  ideas 
5 days ago by alexpriest
Functional Fixedness Stops You From Having Innovative Ideas
To see alternative, innovative solutions more easily, reframe the design problem. Abstracting the problem by removing the surface details minimizes the opportunities for functional fixedness and allows you to focus on the core issue. Once the problem is abstracted, it is easier to recognize related fields of expertise from which to draw inspiration. Research has found that when people look for inspiration from distant domains, they generate more creative solutions than when they consider only domains closely related to the original, non-abstracted representation of the problem.
For example, in a study run at Carnegie Mellon University, participants were asked to design a power strip in which large plugs wouldn’t block adjacent outlets. Researchers also created an abstracted version of this problem: How to fit objects of different sizes into a container so that they don’t block each other and take full advantage of the container’s capacity? In this reframed problem, the surface features of power strips, plugs, and outlets were stripped away to avoid functional fixedness. When given the abstracted problem, participants in the study were able to identify remotely related, yet potentially relevant domains of expertise such as contortionism, landscaping, carpentry, and Japanese aesthetics. People who collected inspiration from these distant-yet-structurally-relevant domains produced the most novel, practical solutions to the original design problem, proving that creativity increases when functional fixedness is prevented.
Similarly, whenever you are faced with a design problem, resist the urge to immediately jump into brainstorming solutions. Instead, abstract the problem and identify potentially related sources of inspiration. (Tip: After you’ve abstracted the problem, take a break so you can allow yourself to “forget” the original formulation.) Then, consider how the problem is solved in these outside fields, and how those solutions could be translated back into your design.
ux  usability  cognition  ideas  ideasonideas  research  creativity 
5 days ago by rmohns
A report from the 2017 New Yorker TechFest
in 1945, there were three treatments available to patients with heart problems (give them oxygen, drain fluid through the feet, and morphine for the pain) but now there are 90 available treatments. That complexity is an area where AI can help…using machine learning to read chest x-rays more effectively or suggest courses of treatments for a given set of vitals/symptoms.
ideas  tech  medicine 
6 days ago by mymarkup

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