Tag Archives: Gadgets

Building Blocks of Creativity

Long ago I read an interesting book that tried to teach how to actually engineer creativity. One of the simple methods it proposed was – take an existing device, and strip it of a main characteristic. A TV set without a screen, for example. Not good for anything you say? well, if you’re a real soap opera freak, frustrated that they always run when you’re driving back from work, you could imagine installing this in your car and listening to your TV while driving, rather than watching…

So let’s take an iPhone and strip it of its… phone. What do you get besides an eye? Siftables. Got this shared from Oren:

To me, seeing this makes my mind immediately run to how my kids could use it. This is surely a creative Human-Computer Interface, but does that automatically make the applications creative? see the one with the kid injecting characters into a scene played on TV. That’s great, but it’s really limited to the scenarios programmed into this app: the sun can rise, the tractor enters, the dog says hello to the cat – ok, got it. Now what?

My kids and I actually have a non-Siftables version of this, where we took some game that includes plastic blocks with various images on them, and turned it into a storytelling game. Each player stacks a bunch of these blocks and tries to tell a continuous story by picking a block and fitting it into a story he’s improvising as he goes along. That’s a real creative challenge, and it is so because you have nobody to rely on but your own imagination.

Another example is the Lego themed sets, non-creativewhere there’s really just one way to assemble them right, and imagination is out of the equation. As an educational tool, standard plain old Lego blocks are far superior. The less rules and options, the more creatively challenged we are, and the more a Siftables app follows that principle, the more educational it may actually become.

In any case, Siftables are a great idea, and will surely be a great challenge to the creativity of programmers of Siftables apps…