Monday, February 05, 2007

Creative Idea – Go fish with socks to fold the laundry

This is a helpful game for getting an annoying chore done. My daughter and I came up with it. I had a bunch of socks that needed to be folded, about 12 pair total. Each pair had a slightly different pattern because they were dress socks. We stuck them all into a bag and ‘shuffled’ them. I then ‘dealt’ 3 to her and 3 to me. We put a pillow vertically between us to form a wall so we couldn’t see each others’ ‘cards’. Littlest ones go first, so she picked up a sock, showed it to me, and asked if I had its pair. I said, no, and then told her to “go fish” like in the children’s card game by that name. We took turns asking each other and making ‘books’ (i.e. folding the socks) until one of us ran out of socks to ask for. She had the most pairs of socks so I declared her the winner!

This is another example of creativity that the Arthur Koestler model of creativity helps us decompose. In “The Act of Creation” Koestler deduces from many examples of creativity that the act itself is a mental process of combining seemingly unrelated ideas one after another until a meaningful combination emerges that nobody ever thought of before. Koestler calls each unrelated idea a “matrix” which suggests that an idea is a collection of facts, assumptions, and habitual thought patterns. A creative idea is therefore a new matrix which Koestler says is always formed by way of combining two or more existing matrices. Other hypotheses of the process of creativity would have us believe that creativity is a rational process (cf. Goldratt’s Thinking Processes). Koestler, though, argues that rationalization is an afterthought. The creative process generates the initial notion of a connection between existing ideas and afterward the mind proves its validity seemingly in an effort to convince itself of the connection generated by the subconscious creative mechanism.

Back to the sock game…the first matrix is sock folding (boring!). The second matrix is the game Go Fish (fun!). Using the socks as the cards to play Go Fish produces the positive effect of making sock folding fun, a third new matrix!

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