Innovative thinking by using adjectives

Innovative thinking by using adjectives

Let me return to a time in which photographs were not in living colour.  In those days, people referred to pictures as “photographs” rather than “black-and-white photographs” as we do today.  The possibility of colour did not exist.  So it was unnecessary to insert the adjective “black-and-white”.  However, let me suggest a bit of reverse thinking.  Just imagine that we did include the phrase “black-and-white” before the existence of colour photography.  By highlighting that reality, we would become aware of the current limitations of photography and it would open our minds to new possibilities and future opportunities.  So a simple act as adding an adjective can uncover the gaps and open people’s mind to innovate.

Think about Word War I.  It was given that name only after we were deeply embattled in World War II.  Before the 1940s, World War I was simply called “The Great War” or even “The War to end all wars”.  What if people had called it “World War I” back in 1918?  Such a label might have made the possibility of a second worldwide conflict a greater reality for governments and politicians.  It might have led to better international policy decisions.  So we become fully aware of issues when we explicitly identify and articulate them. 

You could apply the idea of “include an adjective” to many different domains.  If I think about the current educational system, I would describe it as “non-individualized education”.  That designation could make us wonder about the extent to which education could – perhaps in the near future – be tailored to individual differences in learning styles.  So our thoughts can be inspired by just our description of how we see reality today.  By describing that reality more accurately, you make it possible to see or uncover the invisible. 

Latest articles by Filip