How to use the focal method


In the modern world, so many inventions, discoveries, novelties, it would seem, was invented all that is possible. And the well-known expression “everything has been invented before us” only confirms that we have almost exhausted the potential of our creativity, but it is not so. All this, because it is difficult for us to overcome the inertia of our thinking, the subconscious unwillingness to evade existing manifestations and beliefs. We tend to live easier. Why settle for what has already been decided? But at the same time this is the main obstacle to new discoveries.

There are many tricks and methods to get your thinking to generate new, non-standard ideas. One of them appeared in the past 1926 in Germany, it was invented by the scientist F. Kunze and gave him the name “method of catalog”. Twenty-seven years later, in 1953, a scientist from the state of W. Wheeling took Kunze’s work as a basis, finalized it and gave it, already to the improved method, its current name “method of focal objects.” Its second name is the “method of random objects”, since there are no specific criteria for selecting objects.

What is and how to use it?

Quite interesting and easy to use, it is aimed at improving the necessary object, event, phenomenon, process, by selecting random words and identifying their characteristics. And then transferring the properties of these words to the desired object and subsequently analyzing the results. Following the method, in turn we fulfill a number of conditions:

  • We take an object that needs to be given unusual properties, we call it a focal.
  • Choose random 2 … 5 words that are not related to the object of improvement or between each other. This can be done by literally by pointing your finger at the dictionary.
  • Determine what they cause associations and make a list for each of these words.
  • Take our focal object and apply the resulting lists to it. Thus, the characteristics of random words are carried over to the main word.
  • Now we look at the phrases we have received and decide which ones do not fit, and what can be used.
  • We consider interesting variants for further application. As a result, very strong ideas can appear.

Use in practice

Areas of application of the “random object method” are quite extensive. It is used in marketing, advertising, design, pedagogy, searching for new solutions in engineering, and so on.

Consider the improvement of an already existing product, for example – irons. There are so many different sizes, colors, configurations, what else can you think of? But for the goods to be sold it must be improved. Shall we try:

  • Focus on the main word – iron.
  • Choose random words, I have it: curtains, window, sound.
  • We compose a list of associations for each word. Curtains – dense, strong, long. The window is open, clean, transparent. Sound – soft, loud, heavy.
  • Now we try the resulting lists to iron, it is dense, strong, long, open, clean, transparent, soft, loud, heavy.
  • Remove inappropriate combinations.
  • See how we can apply the best options. Take “open” and “transparent”. You can make an interesting version of the design of a transparent iron, and the internal design will look like a pattern, add an illumination, and now it looks very impressive and attractive on the showcase. A loud iron? Let it signal when it heats up, add another possibility to choose the melody of the signal and the idea seems to be quite interesting. Initially, a heavy iron, will not be in demand, but why not make replaceable soleplates heavier for ironing rough thick fabric. Or as weighting agents are used in some computer mouse systems, when needed.

As you can see, the method works and can be quite effective, because it can be difficult to abandon the usual perception and fantasize to create something new or improve the already existing, as in childhood.

But not every child has an infinite imagination. Therefore, in pedagogy, techniques are also used to develop creative thinking among preschool children. Many games have been invented for this. In some games you need to combine different objects, borrowing their properties, and draw what happened. In other games, invent new items – clothes, treats, toys, giving them the properties of objects already known to children. Or you need to invent unusual animals, name and tell about them, how they look, where they live, what they eat and so on.

A lot of examples can be drawn, because it is easy to use, unconventional, has versatility and unlimited possibilities in the search for new ideas, perfectly develops thinking. Along with this, there are also disadvantages: the absence of any specific criteria and rules, the ability to identify only simple combinations and inapplicability in solving complex problems. However, who wants to develop his imagination, look at the world and surrounding things on the other side, he must certainly use this method. Do not be limited to the framework of existing ideas, fill life with creativity.

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