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Think & Write Freely: the Brainstorming Thread

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A large part of this forum has a vibe that promotes convergent thinking.
Meaning that we want to draw conclusions, evaluate ideas, develop concepts, discuss examples, etc.

Are you yearning for a place where you can think & write freely without constraints?
This is the thread to brainstorm and explore ideas.
In other words, divergent thinking.

In order to get people interested in discussing your ideas, the idea needs to spark their interest and give some value already.
We can call this a minimum viable idea.

However, don't be afraid of posting here if you have a half-baked idea as one can always return to the idea to get more substance.
Idea generation takes some practice and skill so one will get better over time.

If you want to develop an idea further before posting, you can use 2 opposing forces:

  • Divergent thinking - you open up & explore the idea by adding on other ideas, concepts.
    You let your mind wander.
  • Convergent thinking - you evaluate your ideas.
    What's good? What's bad?
    What are your assumptions?
    How does this idea add value to others?

Let's Brainstorm!

If you have a quick & fast idea, you can post it below!

The more you do this, the "stronger" your idea becomes.

You can also take a look at the ideation lifecycle in this post from Meta-Discussion on Feedback.

  • Interest/Requirement Discovery (ask questions; both divergent & convergent thinking)
  • Ideation - explore ideas and form ideas (divergent thinking)
  • Evaluation - critique, challenge, agree, find evidence (convergent thinking)
  • Draw conclusion (convergent thinking)
  • Execute

Convergent and divergent thinking seems to be a quick & fast way to "categorise" our thought processes.
However, you don't have to do that.
It's just a way to get you in that frame of mind.

Lucio Buffalmano and leaderoffun have reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmanoleaderoffun

Genuine questions:

Is the forum convergent?

How about when people chip in with their approaches or solutions.

Isn't that part of divergent?

And if that's not the case, do you want to do the honors on this, Matthew?

Like, how would you use divergent thinking on some of the threads we have in here?

Because I see many social situations -including many threads in here- that have optimal approaches, and not-so-good ones.
And sometimes, those optimal approaches are obvious and/or easy to reach.
Divergent thinking in those cases might unnecessarily spin wheels.

But I might be narrow-minded on this and I'm happy to be wrong and very happy if the divergent approach leads to more "aha-moments".

ZenDancer has reacted to this post.
ZenDancer
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

The forum feels largely convergent and that's good for the reasons you outlined.

When people chip in with approaches or solutions, it is divergent in the sense that you need to generate ideas to solve a social situation.
So it's divergent within the scope of the thread.
It's convergent in the sense that we're already in the frame of looking for solutions.

And a lot of people start threads to look for answers (convergent) rather than to brainstorm (divergent) on this forum.
Starting a thread with no immediate solution requires more effort in my opinion.

I feel that not enough people starting divergent threads like
Feedbacks & Clarifications
Forum rules, usability, changing titles, moving threads, etc.
Meta-Discussion on Feedback
The Challenges of Marketing ThePowerMoves

And my guess (again why I started this experimental thread) is not because people do not have ideas.
It takes a lot of time to kick off these threads.
And preferably we don't want a bunch of forum threads with vague ideas.

This is kind of akin to why we don't want too many "thank yous" in one thread.
It dilutes the content of a thread.
So we decided to keep "thank yous" on another thread if that's all people want to say.

I think there are many levels to idea generation and implementation from the broadest context to the narrowest context:

  • Starting ThePowerMoves (Lucio)
  • Starting the forum (Lucio)
  • Creating new forum sections (Lucio)
  • Creating threads (topic creators)
  • Creating posts on threads (forum users)

You can be convergent on the broad level and divergent on the narrow level (thinking within the scope of the broad level).

I feel that there's a gap for short & quick ideas.
What if you have an idea but you're not sure if it suits any current thread or a new thread.

For short & quick ideas, we don't want to create a new thread for that.
Just like we don't want to create a new thread for Grammar Correction & "Thank Yous" every time.

So this is the thread that I have created for vague and quick ideas to be refined down the line.
When it's ready, we will launch the idea on another thread.
Essentially, this thread lowers the barrier towards generating new ideas.

Like, how would you use divergent thinking on some of the threads we have in here?

Because I see many social situations -including many threads in here- that have optimal approaches, and not-so-good ones.
And sometimes, those optimal approaches are obvious and/or easy to reach.
Divergent thinking in those cases might unnecessarily spin wheels.

I think when you say optimal, it means tried and tested.
So each post can have a heading

  • tried and tested
  • exploratory

And we already do that sometimes.
(But that's not why I started this thread.)

I feel that spinning wheels is a necessary price to pay in the short term for long term innovation.
I would never start out with the intention to spin wheels.
But sometimes you have to explore and realise you are heading for a dead-end or going round in circles.
If not, we will be working within the realm of tried-and-tested.

As such, I think we should go on a tangent to the topic of the thread occasionally.
Let the wheels spin and our heads hit on the dead end.
Do you want me to find an example where going on a tangent has led to a beneficial outcome?

I think it should be 95% convergent and 5% divergent.
Because we need to move things forward which is what convergent thinking does.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Alright, cool, I like the idea.

Let's try it and see how it goes.

Edit:
And thank you for the novel approach opening this thread!

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

You can be convergent on the broad level and divergent on the narrow level (thinking within the scope of the broad level).

A brief idea came to mind about this.
We can apply this concept to frame control.

Posting on this forum is already implicitly accepting a frame that you're interested in social dynamics.
Posting in the idea section is doing the same: saying you're interested in ideas.

People who are good at frame control understand the hierarchy of frames (higher and lower as mentioned in Power University).
For example, they intuitively understand that they can agree at a high level and disagree on low-level details.

They look at a statement and think

  • What does this frame implicitly set out at the highest level, next highest level, ..., the lowest level?
  • What are the assumptions behind this frame?

Some examples:

  • The philosopher frame essentially generates a generic, high-level frame where everyone acknowledges
  • Undermining the authority is attacking the frame at a high level

Convergent means narrowing down within a current frame.
Divergent means widening the scope of the current frame or sidestepping the current frame.

You can converge at the high level and diverge at the lower level.
It can be a tool to find out differences, resolve conflicts and persuade.

To be clear, there're also many overlapping frames at one level.
So you can sidestep frames at the current level (talked about in Power University as well).

Example 1 - Go Higher, Converge at High Level, Diverge at Current Level

Michael: The ostriches are very lazy. They can't fly.

Luke: Most birds can fly. (go up one level and agree)
But ostriches are one of the heavier birds. (implicitly disagree at the current level)

Example 2 - Go Higher, Possibly Diverge at High Level, Possibly Converge at Current Level

Michael: We should tax the rich to provide opportunities for the poor.

Luke: That would depend on how the government utilises the money and how well the policies are implemented. (go up one level and diverge)
If the policies promote egalitarianism for education and access to jobs, the poor could certainly have more opportunities. (possibly converge at current level)

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

This is very interesting.

I'm thinking the concept could work great with some sort of infographic and arrows / flows.

For example, going up and diverging, then come down again and converging.

The "up diverge, down converge" preserves rapport while still self-framing as more knowledgeable and more open-minded (a far higher value self-frame).

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Sounds awesome Lucio.

Maybe Venn diagrams could work as well.
Like a big circle and a small circle.

Size of circle denotes the size of frame:

  • A larger circle means "going up" - context has bigger scope, larger frame
  • A smaller circle means "going down" - context has smaller scope, smaller frame

Percentage of new frame overlapping with the previous immediate frame denotes "diverge" or "converge":

  • 100% overlap implies converging completely (usually this means the circle is smaller)
  • 80% overlap implies converging mostly and diverging a little
  • 30% overlap implies diverging mostly and converging a little
  • 0% overlap implies diverging completely


(3 frames here; the final frame converges completely with the original frame)

Agree completely means you have identical, completely overlapping circles.

When you present an argument, that argument can be represented via many circles of varying sizes.
Then, the other person can reply with their own argument, again represented by his/her own set of circles.

The limitation of this representation is that it's 2-dimensional.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Sounds awesome Matthew!

A few arrows might make it even clearer but this "MVP" first idea is already 10x better than no representation.

PU-worthy idea and concept, it's an awesome addition to both philosopher's frame and "frame negotiation".

You can use this approach in both approaches and you can come across as superior/smart without getting involved in silly low-level debates, while also preserving rapport.

I'll be adding it soon and credit you.

From power dynamics and frame control, thank you so much! 🙂

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks a lot for the credit Lucio! Much appreciated!
Although this made me realise that I'm looking not so much for the recognition, I'm looking for idea pals.
It's a form of desire for connection.
Probably the desire is a bit excessive during this time.

I'm not so good at drawing arrows :).
Maybe I could leave the files here for anyone to edit.

I was going through the frame control section.
I think that we can explore this concept further like you advised for frame negotiation.
Then I thought that it can be applied to your Mach Power Maneuvering example.

I got the colours all random.
I think vocal exercises should be green to signify good.

Her(with a strange face that says “are you crazy”) what were the noises you were doing (original frame, blue circle)

Me: it’s not noises (blocks and prevents the frame of “weirdness” from cementing and becoming real), I do voice exercises (sets the new frame of “normal and good”)

Her: you can’t do them here (gives me orders, and without power protecting) (this if both blue and red; no noises; no vocal exercises)

Me: you mean that it’s noisy and it disturbs people?
(With the question I task her to answer to me. I can control the interaction. And if I end up obeying, at least I came up with a good reason to comply, rather than just following orders)
(introduces a third frame of disturbing people, green circle while the overall frame is the intersection of all 3 frames: noise, vocal exercises, disturb people; this intersection is a small part of vocal exercise frame allowing an easy transition to vocal exercises and not disturb)

Her: yes, there are other people here (great, she trapped herself. Now all I need to do is to prove that I’m not disturbing others. Or, even better, let HER prove that I’m disturbing people)
(she agrees with the intersection of frames)

Me: yeah, yeah, that makes sense (bridge-building and aligning: no point in escalating what can still be resolved with smoothness), that’s why I’ve started doing them at a lower volume and after I make sure everyone’s awake (= the new reality I set is that I’m NOT disturbing anyone, so I can keep doing it)
(transitions out of the intersection into the frame of vocal exercises away from being noisy and disturbing people)

Quoting from Lucio in Power University,

You set a frame that her wishes are also your wishes, and you’re already complying with them (not disturbing people).

To paraphrase the above in terms of this concept,

  • You introduce a new frame that overlaps with her original frame
  • You trick her into agreeing with the overlapping frame
  • Then, you smoothly transition out of the overlapping frame into your new frame (my vocal exercises do not disturb people)

To introduce the concepts of diverging and converging,

  • The new frame should overlap a bit but not a lot (diverge 70%) but seems to overlap quite a bit (the trick)
  • This will allow an easy transition at the final step completely out of the original frame (not noisy and not disturbing people)
Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Thank you again, Matthew!

Added it now to philosopher's frame and frame negotiation.

Those two are foundational and this concept was the perfect addition.

I'm loving this Venn diagram approach as well, but will need to come back to it later on to give it the time it deserves as now I'm still fully committed to SU (I made a note on it though).

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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