Tuesday, February 17, 2015

FOLIO Tool 4: About (Listing Facts)

Use of Adjectives 

Throughout this blog post, I'll use random adjectives to help guide the thinking directed by the nine tools. Here's a post about generating a list of adjectives: How to create a list of adjectives quickly.

Tool 4: About (Listing Facts) 

The About tool is used to list information about the topic. Again, adjectives are used here. For the topic reading books the format is:

On the subject of reading books, what is X?

Where the "X" is a random adjective. The random adjective "silent" would give:

On the subject of reading books, what is silent?

And I can come up with a few answers:

Libraries
Listening to books by headphones
The pastime itself.
Etc.

A question based on the adjective "nocturnal" would read:

On the subject of reading books, what is nocturnal?

Possible answers:

People queuing at midnight to buy books such as Harry Potter.
Reading at night.
Books about astronomy.

More Examples of About Tool:

On the subject of reading books...

Q: What's knowledgeable? A: People who read a lot of books.
Q: What's evident? A: The words on paper.
Q: What's watery? A: Ink on the paper.
Q: What's square? A: The shape of the book.
Q: What's hoaxed? A: The Hitler Diaries.
Q: What's odious? A: The burning of books. Some forms of censorship.
Q: What's dark? A: The horror genre.
Q: What's dichotomous? A: Party manifestos.
Q: What's menial? A: "Stuffy" books.

FOLIO Tool 3: The Three Mentors: Questions, Advice and Creative.

Use of Adjectives 

Throughout this blog post, I'll use random adjectives to help guide the thinking directed by the nine tools. Here's a post about generating a list of adjectives: How to create a list of adjectives quickly.

Tool 3: The Three Mentors: Questions, Advice, and Creative 

With the Mentors tools, I imagine there is a mentor sat with me, in a mentoring role. There are three mentors - the Questions-mentor, the Advice-mentor, and the Creative-mentor.

Questions-mentor

The Questions-mentor asks questions about the topic.So, if reading books is my topic then good questions could be, "Are you reading enough?" or, "What books haven't you read?" There are two approaches I can use: I can create a question intuitively, or use an adjective to help me generate a question.

Creating a Question Intuitively

To generate an intuitive question I simply ask the question, "If a Questions-mentor were sat beside me and they asked a pertinent question, what could that question be?"

So, for the topic reading books examples could be:

Are you happy with your reading material?
What knowledge would you like to acquire?
What's the best way to find new books/subjects to read?
etc.

Creating a Question with an Adjective

I can use a randomly chosen adjective to help me to generate a pertinent question from the Questions-mentor.. For this I use the format:

Make up X question.

Then, I pick a random adjective to put in place of the "X", and use it as a trigger to generate a question that has a characteristic suggested by the adjective. Example:

Make up superlative question: What are your favourite ten books?
Make up coupled question: What sequels could you read?
Make up flexible question: Could you try a new genre?
Make up jaded question: Do you stay fresh during reading/studying by taking regular breaks?

Advice-mentor

The Advice-mentor offers advice about the topic. I imagine a mentor is sat with me offering advice. Good advice about the topic reading books could be, "Join a reading group" or, "Improve your general vocabulary" etc. Like with the Questions-mentor, there are two approaches I can take: I can generate some advice intuitively, or use an adjective to help me generate the advice.

Intuitive Advice

To generate intuitive advice I ask the question, "If an Advice-mentor were sat beside me and they offered some pertinent advice about reading books, what could that advice be?" Examples could be:

Check out your local library.
Check out a list of the current best sellers.
Check out a list of the best sellers in your areas of interest.

Advice Created with an Adjective

As before with the Questions-mentor, I pick a random adjective and use it as a trigger to generate some advice that has a characteristic suggested by the adjective. The format is:

Make up X advice

And I pick a random adjective  to put in place of the "X", then interpret it. Example:

Make up feline advice: Read up about caring for my pet cat.

More Examples of Advice:

Make up measured advice: Log how much you've learned in the past 5/10/15 years.
Make up dual advice: Read the same book as your wife so you can compare notes.
Make up smurfy advice: Find classic children's books for my children.
Make up angst-ridden advice: List your main ten problems in life and find out how they are addressed by any books.
Make up evocative advice: Read through your old journal diaries.
Make up messy advice: Have several books on the go at once.
Make up odd advice: Learn to read books written in Latin.
Make up sick advice: Read up on your ailments.
Make up harmonic advice: Polish up on music theory.
Make up satirical advice: Read some work by the famous satirists.

Creative-mentor (How to...more and more)

The Creative-mentor is a little different.The purpose of the Creative-mentor is to start steering the thinking towards creativity and possibilities. I imagine the mentor sat with me has set me a creative challenge. To create the challenge, I choose a random adjective, then increase the degree of the characteristic suggested by that adjective. The basic format is:

How to make (topic) more and more (random adjective).

With the topic of reading books and the random adjective "stubborn" that gives:

How to make reading books more and more stubborn.

What to make of that? Maybe:

Be determined to read and finish a difficult book.

More examples of Creative-mentor:

Find a way to make readings books...

more and more cliquey: Link up with people reading the same book.
more and more sincere: What's the best way to find books that might interest me?
more and more schoolish: How to relearn everything I've forgotten since leaving school?
more and more legendary: How to be as good at reading as Kim Peek. Or (more plausible) research reading abilities such as those of Kim Peek.
more and more odd: Read standing on your head.
more and more dead: Make reading obsolete by inventing a way to download books to your brain.
more and more essential: Invent a "25 books qualification" where you can be tested on your knowledge of any 25 books.

Bigger and Bigger Challenges

I can also, if I choose to, think about what kind of challenge would come from increasing the degree of the characteristic to an impossible or surreal extent. It's an area for letting the imagination run riot and doing lots of wishful thinking. Example: What would it mean to make reading books more and more funded? Maybe:

Set up a scheme so that nobody has to buy a book again.
People could get paid for reading.

More Examples of Bigger Challenges:

To a fanciful or surreal extent, make reading books...

more and more calm. Ways to express information so that it relaxes the reader as well as informs.
more and more musical. Audio books that sing the words as lyrics to well known songs.
more and more white. Books are black text on a white background. Why not white text on a black background? Would it make a difference?
more and more sporty. Make reading books and memorising them a sport.
more and more underwater. Books that are readable absolutely anywhere.

Monday, February 16, 2015

FOLIO Tool 2: Hindsight Question


Tool 2: Hindsight Question

The purpose of Hindsight Question is to produce more switches in my thinking, but in a different way to the Switch tool. To generate a Hindsight Question I look at the topic (in this case reading books) and ask myself, "What question(s) would've generated the answer 'reading books'?" Examples could be:

What's a good way to educate myself?
What's a leisurely hobby?
What can you do in a library?
What's a necessary part of studying?
What did I like doing as a child?

Then I can pick one and generate alternative answers (thus, alternative focuses). Example:

What's a good way to educate myself?

Possible answers:

Do a course.
Learn online.
Get a private tutor.
Go to night school.
etc.

FOLIO Tool 1: Switch

Use of Adjectives 

Throughout this blog post, I'll use random adjectives to help guide the thinking directed by the nine tools. Here's a post about generating a list of adjectives: How to create a list of adjectives quickly.

Tool 1: Switch

The purpose of Switch is to deliberately switch my thinking when I'm thinking about a subject. There are two types of switch, on-topic and off-topic:

On-topic Switch

For an on-topic switch I'll switch my thinking, but stay on the topic. I'm currently thinking about the chosen topic reading books. So an on-topic Switch could be:

Could I get a Kindle?
I could go through my books and sort them out.
I could read more non-fiction.
I could dig out a book right now and read.
I could visit the library.
etc.

Using Random Adjectives, and a Format for an On-topic Switch

(I'll stay on the chosen topic reading books) To do an on-topic switch with an adjective, I pick a  random adjective and use it as a trigger to generate an on-topic switch  that has the characteristic suggested by the adjective. The format is thus:

Make X Switch

Then I choose a random adjective. In this case: historic

I put my random adjective - historic - in the place of the "X" which gives:
 
Make historic switch:

And I ask myself: "What would a historic switch be?" I'll try to interpret that in a few ways to generate the following thinking switches:

Could I read some of the classics?
Could I make a list of the books I enjoyed as a child and pass them on to my children?
What are the all-time best sellers?

More Examples of On-topic Switches:

Make introspective switch: Could I focus on the way I read? (Learn speed reading, etc.)
Make illegal switch: What books have been banned in the past or have been controversial? Could I read them?
Make wise switch: Think about what makes a wise reader. What should my reading priorities be?
Make morbid switch: Have any books been written with a ouija board?
Make specky switch: Do I need to get new glasses?
Make dead switch: What books could I add to my bucket list as possible reads?

Off-topic Switch

For an off-topic switch I'll switch my thinking completely away from the current topic. So, with the topic "reading books" I could end up with something like:

Have some food.
Watch telly.
Go for a run. 

Using Random Adjectives, and a Format for an Off-topic Switch

This is constructed in the same way as the on-topic Switch: I'll pick a random adjective and use it as a trigger to generate an off-topic switch that has the characteristic suggested by the adjective. The format is the same:

Make X Switch.

Then I choose a random adjective: funny.

I put the random adjective - funny - in the place of the "X" which gives:

Make funny switch

and I ask myself "What would a funny switch be?" I'll interpret it in a few ways:

Watch some funny vids on YouTube.
Read some jokes.
Write some jokes.

More Examples of Off-topic Switches:

Make deep switch: Go swimming
Make dear switch: Go shopping
Make clear switch: Tidy out the shed.
Make frightening switch: Do a bungee jump.
Make penitent switch: List mistakes I've made that I regret.

Switching Back to the Topic from an Off-topic Switch

I can utilise an off-topic switch I've generated to see how it could help the original topic (reading books, in this case):

Go swimming: Would help me to read books because I'd be fit and refreshed.
Go shopping: I could go in a book shop.
Tidy out the shed: I could find somewhere to store my books.