A Novel Idea Generation Method, “SA method”
Authors: Atsushi Sakahara, Madoka Hasegawa, Atsushi Ito
Abstract: “A technique for producing ideas” (James Webb Young,1940) has been a bible for advertising people since its publication. It says, “An idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.''(P.15) It also says, “ An idea is a new combinations”.(P.20). But it never mentions how you can combine ideas with an excuse: “This part of the process is harder to describe in concrete terms because it goes on entirely inside your head.”(P.20) Another well known technique for idea producing is the “KJ method”(Jiro Kawakita,"Abduction”1967). It is an approach to find ideas by organizing ideas and it doesn't explain how you can produce ideas by combining elements.Now we are in an era where creation is the important drive force of economic activities in our society and creation is producing ideas. But still the process of producing ideas is in the veil. I am a film director, educator, as well as management consultant. Many of my students and clients need to find an idea with an objective such as career goal, new business idea, project idea. When I help them, I often deploy techniques I use for developing movie projects. I realized I always go through the same path with them. So I developed the “SA method” based on the path I always go through with my students or clients. I am now developing a software application based on the method.Combining two ideas is not so difficult but combining three ideas is extremely difficult. “SA method” helps people to produce ideas by combining three elements. “SA method” assumes an idea with three elements must be a “synthesis” produced by an aufheben in dialectic development with two elements. And each of three elements must be a synthesis produced in dialectic development with the rest respectively. When an idea is produced with three elements, the dialectic is revolved with the same three elements so that the idea is kneaded. “SA method” also has a process of quantifying it and describing it, which not only helps to ferment ideas in mind but also helps to select ideas at each proper timing. This selection also helps to separate the idea generation stage and the idea selection stage. According to my observation, people, who are not good at producing ideas, don’t know the importance of the separation. The SA method is a unique combination of practical and original use of dialectic development and Analytical Hierarchy processing.I conducted pilot tests with 35 undergraduate students at Utsunomiya University and 6 undergraduate students at Chuo University in November of 2021 to find their career goal using the SA method. During the trial, some people had difficulties producing 25 ideas. There may be some reasons such as not being accustomed to generating ideas and “SA method”, and 25 was an unnecessarily large number. Also they didn’t have enough time to search for information about their career development.We are now considering how to refine the methodology. Also, we have started to develop a Web based tool or PC application to work with the “SA method” visually. I would like to conduct further research projects such as comparing “SA method” with “KJ method” while refining the method.
Keywords: Creativity, Idea, Education, Business, Innovation, Design
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