Love an idea? Then try to kick holes in it

Anchor for this item  posted Thursday, February 21, 2008 at 10:59 pm MST

Part of my reply to Alex's "Think opposite, or keep on dreaming?" (Alexander van Elsas’s Weblog on new media & technologies and their effect on social behavior)


Your "and my thoughts were uncontrollably unleashed" about the wash of web platforms ties in directly with something I started working on yesterday: so many of the people I talk to seem submerged in a tsunami of information day in day out.

For me, I watch the tsunami from shore as I bob along ... project-oriented, I am. I won’t say that my work "anchors" me, because it isn’t fixed like a rock. And yet it’s something like that ... a constant still-point around which (to mix metaphors) the information I encounter orders itself into meaningful constellations, rich with inter-connections, perhaps chaotic, but nothing like the rush of a waterfall. (Is that the third metaphor? or only a return to the 1st? *grin*)

There’s not a lot more I love more than "gate-keeper" ... as when acting as librarian in a hi-tech firm ... steering hard-pressed engineers and technologists towards something that might just do the trick ... I love that.

But now here I’m responding more to your title than to the bulk of your post: "think opposite" is something I learned with my first business plan, creating a 5-year cash-flow project. (How’s /that/ for a flight of fancy huh huh ... creative fiction!) I found myself being harsh. What could I break but the bottom line on my spreadsheet? I found myself adjusting the plan and the model and then trying to kick holes in it. Eventually I found one configuration that, well, didn’t want to sink!

I’ve applied something like that to techniques and tools ... I call it "disconfirmation". (Which, BTW, I spent over 5 years doing with ConceptMapping. Left me in a hole, but when I worked my way out of that hole I had ... what I have: a novel approach.)
If I can dis-confirm something in, say, 2 months ... then those 2 months may have kept me from committing 2 years to a dead-end.

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