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Creativity Training: Generate Ideas in Greater Quantity and Quality
Illustration by John Hersey

The role of relevance


From:

Creativity Training: Generate Ideas in Greater Quantity and Quality

with Stefan Mumaw

Video: The role of relevance

Relevance is the degree by which a problem is solved fully. Chances are, the ideas that you view to be the, Novelty is what makes an idea interesting, Imagine this common problem, you're standing on your You could ring the doorbell, and wait for someone to open the door.

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Creativity Training: Generate Ideas in Greater Quantity and Quality
1h 2m Beginner Dec 03, 2013

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Creativity is not an external force or a rare skill; it's a habit that can be learned and exercised every day. This course challenges preconceived notions about creativity and provides valuable tools that will unlock this skill to help you generate better ideas faster. Let Stefan Mumaw help you identify and break down creative obstacles, and lead you through a few short, fun exercises that build your creative muscles, while illuminating key points about your behavior, experience, and perspective that you might not have realized before.

Subjects:
Design Design Skills
Author:
Stefan Mumaw

The role of relevance

Relevance is the degree by which a problem is solved fully. As we all know, all solutions aren't created equal. Some only solve part of the problem or may inherently cause more problems than they solve. Every idea we generate carries a degree of relevance with it. And learning to solve problems with high degrees of relevance ensures that we are setting ourselves up for creative success. Let's review the ideation graph. The shape all ideation sessions take.

As adults, we typically excel at relevance. The first burst of any brainstorming session is usually full of very relevant ideas. They typically solve the problem thoroughly, but they usually lack in novelty. Chances are, the ideas that you view to be the, least creative, are the ones that have the, the most relevance. Think back to the medieval kids meal exercise. How many of your responses weren't relevant solutions? It's common for creatives, to want to trade relevance, for novelty. Novelty is what makes an idea interesting, but without relevancy, that idea is worthless.

The goal of this movie, is to identify how to generate ideas that maintain that relevance, so that we can begin to add novelty. Imagine this common problem, you're standing on your doorstep, in the rain, with two arms full of groceries and paper bags. The porch is wet, and the door is locked. The keys are in your pocket. How do you get in the house? You could ring the doorbell, and wait for someone to open the door. That would be a relevant solution. You could bust the door down, with a Chuck Norris style kick.

That would be a novel solution. How do you learn to generate relevant ideas quickly? You have to learn to determine the minimum outcome for success, or the very least that has to happen in order for the problem to be considered solved. Let's illustrate this concept with an exercise. You're going to need paper, and writing utensils for this exercise. So if you need to, go get those now. This is called, what's next. And you'll have three minutes. Story is a powerful communication vehicle.

It frames the idea of relevance well, because we can understand its structure. So let's solve the problem of story, without an ending. A man found a digital voice recorder laying in the street. The device had a note taped to it that read, press play, so he did. Finish this scenario with as many possible one-sentence conclusions as you conjure in three minutes. Get ready to pause the movie, and go. Welcome back. How relevant were the responses that you generated? Most likely they weren't all relevant solutions.

Why? Because you subconsciously identified the minimum outcome for the exercise. Every solution needed to offer the result of pressing play on the device. The possibilities are endless, but the only true requirement of each solution is that it has to have been triggered by pressing play. Even if one of your solutions was nothing happened, that was still the result of his action and therefore was a relevant response. In order for ideas to remain relevant, we have to identify the minimum outcome.

In the grocery bags in the rain problem, the minimum outcome is getting in the house with the groceries before the bags get wet and break. Any solution that doesn't feature that outcome, regardless of how, novel the solution becomes, is not relevant. In every problem you encounter, first identity the minimum outcome, and you'll have your idea foundation, the undeniable filter by which all solutions can be judged. Now you're free to add novelty to the equation.

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