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Weekly 3: Being Memorable, The Power of “How?” & Art As Propaganda

Summary: Ways to be more memorable. Ask "How?" to solve problems. The purpose(s) of art. (~5 min read

Idea Journal Weekly 3

December 10 · Issue #12 · View online
We combine 3 ideas to help you think differently and be more creative.

Summary: Ways to be more memorable. Ask “How?” to solve problems. The purpose(s) of art. (~5 min read) 

#1. Take the “Memorable Test” to be a more effective (and lasting) communicator.
Former advertising executive Michael Parker writes in his book It’s Not What You Say that even when you have the most well-prepared speech or pitch, your message may ultimately be forgotten by your audience in the days and weeks ahead.
To help ensure that it stays in their minds, he recommends taking the Memorable Test, by including at least one of the following elements in what you’re presenting: 
  • A compelling story
  • A catchy phrase
  • “A piece of pure theater”
  • An unexpected setting
  • A startling visual
  • Audience participation
  • Best of all, an idea
#2. Use the “How-How Diagram” to come up with practical solutions to a problem.
The How-How Diagram is one of several problem-solving frameworks that follow a tree structure.
Here’s how to use it in 3 steps:
  1. Define the problem you’re trying to solve in one simple statement.
  2. Ask “How can this be solved?” to come up with a list of possible solutions to the problem.
  3. Continue asking “How?” for each of the possible solutions until you’re happy with the number of practical options.
Jeroen de Ruijter, co-founder of the Netherlands-based creative agency HatRabbits, shows in the example below how the diagram can be applied to the problem of needing to increase sales revenue.
#3. Art encourages and supports our better selves.
Author and philosopher Alain de Botton points out in a short video that art is a “force that stands up for the best sides of human nature, and gives them a platform and an authority in a noisy, distracted world.”
For de Botton, art has the following 5 purposes: 
Art keeps us hopeful: the most popular works of art show “pretty things,” and this prettiness is important because so much of life is filled with problems. Without art, we would be in danger of “slipping into despair and depression.”
Art makes us less lonely: the world often requires us to put on a “cheerful facade,” even as we sometimes suffer from sadness and regret. By making those feelings public and accessible, art reminds us that such feelings are perfectly normal, and that “every good life has extraordinary amounts of confusion, suffering, loneliness, and distress within it.”
Art rebalances us: because each of us is unbalanced in some way (e.g., too calm, too excitable, too intellectual, too emotional), art helps us become more rounded, more balanced, and more sane. The art we love often reflects something that we lack: what a person calls beautiful can give you “vital clues as to what’s missing in them.”
Art helps us appreciate stuff: in a world largely occupied with celebrity and hype, art helps us to appreciate those things that may be less glamorous, but are still valuable, as with Van Gogh’s oranges or Durer’s blades of grass.
Art is propaganda for the things that matter most: propaganda that encourages you to go to war, or to support a particular government seems like the opposite of good art. Yet, good art is a kind of propaganda, but for some of the “most important and nicest attitudes and emotions in the world.” For example, that it’s OK to be sad, that there are benefits to expanding your horizons, and that there’s value in being playful.
Quote of the Week
“They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Attributed to Carl W. Buehner
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