Conference Toolbox Overview

Much of our research in Imagination involves the creation of approaches, methods, processes, scaffolding, courses, modules and other forms that support innovation and KE.

We are moving towards a meta-description of these. We tend to describe them as tools or elements of a toolbox. It’s worth here just pausing to clarify what we mean by this and to distinguish between toolkit and toolbox.

A colleague of mine from Glasgow School of Art is rather dismissive of toolkits, always labelling them as ‘foolkits’ that crush the life out of an innovation process demanding the application of a set method, process or approach. You could place ‘circle’ theory in this and elsewhere I’ve written about the benefits of the design of KE.

We don’t use the word toolkits because of this association with ‘cure all’ approaches, we are however interested in the fundamentals of KE which got us thinking about the nature of the tool.

Sidestepping Heideggerian interpretations we started to think about the essence of a real toolbox. Apart from fluff, sawdust and old screws it contains implements that have a very limited range of functions. There are things that cut things, that grip things, that push and things that measure. There are also objects that act as an intermediary – e.g. a screw.

From there we get the multitude of things in an everyday toolbox, with skill and the necessary raw materials all manner of objectives can be achieved.

In Imagination we are interested in research that develops the fundamental KE equivalents of cut, push, turn and so on. Further we want to create collections of tools that exploit this understanding. Our aim is to provide tools that enable a skilled practitioner to use these tools (that could be simple like a hammer or complex like a micrometer), to undertake amazing and collaborative innovation. That’s the challenge of the toolbox.