Brainstorming on your own
Since the 1960s, brainstorming has been an effective tool to help align and collaborate different minds to solve creative problems. Though the internet has already proved useful in bridging geographical distances in creative collaborations, I haven’t come across any online tools that digitally enhance the creative brainstorm – apart from group chatting, of course. I recently came across Seenapse, a platform that might just be the first step towards the digital brainstorm.
Since different people have different associations, the tool helps your brain to make ‘remote associations’
Seenapse is a combination of ‘see’ and ‘synapse’ – the way nerve cells communicate in the nervous system. In this short film the new platform quite clearly explains what it does; it inspires you with the associations of others – even though you might not know your inspirators. Since different people have different associations, the tool helps your brain to make the less obvious and therefore ‘remote associations.’
So, for example, I came across “sheer massiveness,” posted by Oscar Palacios on Seenapse. His first association is the German Bagger 288, a huge bucket wheel excavator. The first thing ‘massiveness’ made me think of is the Three Gorges Dam in China. Other people added a powerful motorcycle and Kanye West – the latter a figurative and therefore less obvious association. If more associations are added, you get a network of associations that can inspire someone who is working on something ‘massive.’
As a writer, I can easily imagine how this is a useful tool for writers. Say you’re writing a book about Mexico and you want your main character to experience different things in different parts of Mexico. Seenapse could inspire you to find sceneries, situations and topics. This could be especially useful when you have a full database and at some point you can combine different associations. For example, if you combine ‘sheer massiveness’ and ‘Mexico’ you get ‘Pyramid of the Sun,’ which could be the right setting for an apocalyptic scene.
The database of associations still has to grow exponentially and smart things have to happen to the algorithm
Now I hear you think; isn’t this what Google already does? To a certain extend, yes, but the concept is still in beta and only a first step towards an associational platform. The database of associations still has to grow exponentially and very smart things have to happen to the algorithm. I believe however that these kinds of tools will eventually help to creatively brainstorm with others, without even knowing them.