Why you shouldn´t throw away ideas

Narrative constructors (designers) should always be vigilant to following:

– Ideas that are discarded because someone says it does not work.
– Ideas that someone does not think is fun and suggests to start working with something else.
– Ideas that are discarded because someone says it is not worth spending time on it.
– Ideas that are discarded because no one has seen them before.

What we cognitively do when we learn is that we categorise information by reducing the complexity in the information. As we don’t like to not understand we search for patterns in conventions, structures, familiarity, and expectations to get in control (understand). Since it is very exhausting for us to not understand it also affects our evaluation where we tend to unconsciously try to come to a meaning as fast as we can, which can also be recognised when we try to come up with ideas that we quickly throw into a bin. Therefore it´s good to have a thought-based method or model at hands as to assist the thinking especially when one likes to envision (imagine) a concept that does not exist, which can be very exhausting activity for us.

The most well known method to envision a thought concept is brainstorming which builds on the fact that people unconsciously discard ideas and where the basics for brainstorming is to produce a quantity of ideas and defer judgements. As the encouragement of a lateral thinking to solve a problem needs to be preceded by a specific question that distinguish a desired goal it places high demands on the question. This is because the brainstorming in itself might distinguish criteria that require a redefinition of the question, which requires a new brainstorming to define a new question that might reveal new criteria and a new definition. And by reading what I just wrote and knowing that we don´t like to not understand it can be good to have another thought-based method at hands so the brainstorming doesn’t become an exhausting cycle that might discard itself.

Narrative bridging is based on the same cognitive knowledge that preceded the creation of brainstorming by aiding the imagination of an idea but with an exception; Narrative bridging takes the imagination further without judging or discarding by letting ideas to be fully explored by finding criteria and elements (objectives) that correspond and support refinements to desired goal and outcome. To describe how Narrative bridging as a thought-based method works it reminds about a child´s play when moving around items in a doll house negotiating and reasoning “Oh, you shouldn’t be here, you should go there”, “Where did you come from, you should be upstairs?”, “Why do you wear that dress, it´s not yours?” etc. What Narrative bridging does is to visualise the thoughts through the design process to be reciprocally shared to the whole team to organize, monitor and control the generation of information (narratives) to meet the requirements of a consistency to the expectations.

When one has learned to use Narrative bridging the only thing one needs to envision an idea is this:


But since there are an infinite amount of thoughts and narratives, there are also lots of ways to learn, therefore I am interested to hear your thoughts so I can learn how to communicate Narrative bridging as a method so that no ideas will be thrown away. As where there is a thought, there is a meaning.

Katarina Gyllenbäck

See next part Why there is no perfect narrative

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