10 August 2009

Describing the intangible

In my former professional life as a management consultant, I often helped my customers work through decisions by applying innovative thinking techniques to problem solving situations. The same techniques work extremely well when guiding a group through an unfamiliar task, like crafting a mission statement.

Innovation can be fueled by inviting the brain to make new associative connections. Since the human brain is so highly adaptive, all it takes is one or two examples of the new thinking process and then the new ideas start to flow.

Association is an excellent, quick exercise for anyone that is trying to generate ideas, and a wonderful way to get started is by describing the intangible.

The color of rhythm is orange. It is. To me, at least. Rhythm is voluptuous, hypnotic and vibrant. Rhythm leaves me breathless and yearning. The orange is bold and ultra-saturated; no pale peach to be found. It is the color of a hot summer sun-kissed zinnia blossom.

The beauty of this exercise is that the possibilities are limitless. Even the thought process of selecting an intangible idea and describing it with something dimensional and finite is itself, an exercise in creative thinking. I invite my readers (both of you!) to give it a try by answering the following questions:

What is the weight of solitude?

What is the flavor of opulence?

What is the timbre of liberty?


  1. What is the weight of solitude? HEAVY

    What is the flavor of opulence? CHAMPAGNE

    What is the timbre of liberty? BELL/FIREWORKS

  2. The weight of solitude is oddly defined by the absence of weight; an aching emptiness.