Creating The Future
Progress is unstoppable, but what progress means is forever interchangeable. As part of the wider human community, our input is always welcome. We need to learn how to communicate our ideas in the best way in order to reach people with what we want to share. Our message for the world, when it comes to progress, has to be able to demonstrate in itself that lives will be made better because of our ideas. Showing how they are implemented and why they matter is therefore vital in the process. How do we teach the value of our idea to those around us in a way that matters to them, and how do we communicate our needs to those who can solve them? Crossing the t's and dotting the i's can mean giving people what they want and what they need at the same time. A truly valuable idea can solve personal problems while also solving wider issues. Things that fail to do one or the other will find a lot of resistance, and for good reasons. It is up to us, as creative people, to think in ways that give both sides of the equation the right values. But what are these values?
A form of problem-solving, appreciative inquiry is like the reversal of looking for issues. Once we know what the issues are, focusing on them will only make it worse. We need to begin to address them in positive ways by applying creativity and method. What is the process of appreciative inquiry? The art of regenerating the present day situation with the tools available at the time by using creative and inventive ideas requires us to assess and address the situation with a positive mindset. Rather than looking for the faults in a situation, we choose to look for the best in a situation in order to leverage this into other areas. There is a flow-chart of appreciative inquiry that provides the steps taken to reach our end goal. These can be a useful framework for developing and then communicating our input.
The process of appreciative inquiry can be summarised as follows.
Define The Solution – We're already aware of certain problems and issues that have naturally arisen due to human behaviour. On top of these, there are clear issues that arise because of the natural world. It is often our attempts to solve natural problems that cause human ones, and vice-versa. In all of this, we need to identify one solution to one problem set that we can deliver.
Learn – The world has already made great progress with nearly every problem out there. A lot of the answers are being quietly whispered in niche communities around the world. It takes a massive effort to bring these ideas to the world at large so we need to go out to look for them. Discover what answers are already on the table and how they relate to what we want to achieve.
Imagine – We have been given all the pieces, we've gone out to find them and people have placed them in front of us. With this collection of ideas and thoughts, we can build an almost infinite number of things that will potentially be greater than the sum of their parts. Inventing new things nearly always makes use of things we already have, just applied in new ways. This is what we can do as well.
Design And Determine – Our blue sky ideas that have no limits need to be taken back down to Earth. We cannot afford to be too idealistic or too reliant on outside forces to assist us. When we get down to the real work, we need to have real world options available. Designing our solution takes into account the possible and the doable then disregards the rest. Streamlining our ideas also helps them to become more focused and more effective. The least work needed and the most effect gained will result in a more efficient and affordable solution.
Delivery – The trickiest part is bringing it together and actually doing the work. We may find that our first and second attempts are not what we expected which means we need to go back to previous stages in the process. The production stage puts everything we have methodically determined into practice. Showing that this can be done and that it is repeatable will be the true test that ensures our ideas are taken into account. Bringing them into wide use is one more inquiry to appreciate that we can attend to once they are manifested.
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