Thursday, May 21, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #19: Borrow Ideas

IMAGINE: Borrow Ideas
It's been said (or paraphrased) that “good artists borrow, great artists steal.” But a fool borrows ideas just long enough to imaginatively transform them until they unrecognizable. Then the original idea can be returned to its owner before the police are called.

You use an idea as a starting point, a beginning of a journey that involves all the other FoolThink concepts, finding variations on the idea, then variations on the variations, substituting parts, adding, combining, and finally, truly changing the idea.

Or even better, take a good idea from a discipline completely outside your own and figure out how to apply it to your problem. Abstract the concept enough to be fleshed out with your dilemma's specifics.

Here's an example of scientists borrowing from the field of food preparation:

“Australian researchers have uncovered the science behind tossing the perfect pizza dough in a quest to make smaller, more efficient motors for use in microrobotics.”
Pizzamimicry Can Lead to Improved Micro-Motors

And don't just borrow good ideas—borrow bad ones and fix them.

Think: Where can I find an idea to borrow? Which idea will I borrow? What can I do with it? What else? What then? When will I return it?

See also my article/virtual workshop: How to Steal Material Without Getting Caught

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #20: Exaggerate the Details

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