2011-02-13

Creative Horizons Theory

An earlier post introduced the concept of status quo+1+1 thinking. This new post attempts to clarify the idea further and to also discus status quo+1+1 in the context of a grander theory of creative thinking called Creative Horizons Theory.

In status quo+1+1 thinking it is important to evaluate what the world will look like after the first +1 improvement. What has changed? Once that has been extrapolated then consider what the new needs of the client/audience are. What is the next +1 improvement that can be done from that point? This cannot be done with a proper empathic evaluation of how the world would change. It requires the ability to temporarily suspend the confines of this reality and replace it with a new reality – all from the perspective of your client/audience.

So what happens when more +1s are added to the process? This is the beginnings of what I’ve termed Creative Horizons Theory. Imagine that the present headspace of the world is the status-quo. There is a visibility problem because thinkers with new ideas only “see” so far from the status-quo into the infinite idea space. This limited visibility is the Creative Horizon. With the power of imagination and thought humans can place themselves at the Creative Horizon and then see further – potentially to a new horizon. The process can be repeated.

The danger is that human thought and imagination cannot accurately place itself where the world would be if it were at the new horizon – at best we are educated guessers. So, the further out a thinker goes – the more horizons they extrapolate to – the greater the danger of inaccurate thinking and the more disconnected the idea becomes from reality. Also the ideas that are too far out will be harder to explain and are more likely to encounter conservative counter-reactions.

There is a taxonomy of labels that is useful to describe each Creative Horizon leap:

Status quo: Copy
Status quo+1: Derivative, Obvious
Status quo+1+1: Cool, Original
Status quo+1+1+1: Visionary
Status quo+1+1+1+1: Crack-pot, Madness