By Amanda Depperschmidt on December 18th, 2014
"What If?" allows for the unrestricted exploration of ideas and new ways of approaching a problem. Re-framing or Imagining Alternatives helps to look at a problem through a new perspective. Projects that ask students to re-frame or imagine alternatives develops abstract and complex thinking skills. These types of projects reveal what is behind a system, the design of an object or how to approach a problem. Re-framing exercises can be the starting point for a new project.
A Search for Opportunity
Very rarely are creativity and innovation found in the completely obvious. The basis of many artistic and theoretical pursuits usually involves taking the back roads; it involves escaping the proverbial box and discovering something new.
Imagining alternatives helps us to see the world around us as more than just the sum of its parts. To seek departure from the completely mundane and banal opens us up to a realm of possibilities, like rediscovering a taste, a smell, a color for the first time. Imagining alternatives is about rejecting the knee-jerk reactions. It is about forgoing the practiced and recited and leaping into improvisation, daring to care and to notice. It is about dancing in the rain, holding the hand of a stranger.
The best ideas come from identifying a problem or a question and finding unique solutions. Often, the use of framing questions can spark a new idea or open up an untrodden path. Progress depends wholly on alternatives – without the vigor and energy that new thought processes can bring, we would lack forward momentum as a society. Artistic, technological, scientific, and social movements are all rooted in counterculture. Without questioning the standard, there would be no revolution or enlightenment. It is through charging ourselves with novelty and strangeness that we can attempt to make a difference.