We are always searching for something new. Just as we cannot return to the days before the Internet, new ideas, new tools, and new experiences make our daily existence and our lives better, more convenient, and more fun. Whether it is work, hobbies, or play, it can be exciting for anyone to think about new ideas like, “It would be interesting if this happened” or “It should be easier if it were done this way.” On the other hand, today’s society requires “innovation” in every field. Not only in industrial categories that engage in R&D but also in many types of industry, there is a constant demand for the “invention” of new products and services. Amidst the demand for ever-advancing innovation, many people appear to be driven by a strong sense of duty that burdens them with worries such as “I have to think up something new,” or “How can I come up with a new idea?”
The author is a leading figure in user interface research, who is known for his invention of multi-touch, which is used worldwide as the smartphone interface, and his pioneering work on augmented reality (AR).
The author notes, however, that this research and these inventions were not necessarily born out of a sense of mission that began from “These problems exist in the world, so we have to solve them.” According to the author, in actuality there are many ideas that come out of you by way of a fantasy, without having to be asked for by anyone or forced out of you. That is, it is fair to say that the first seed for some research or an invention begins from a fantasy.
We tend to think of things by extending out from the present, but fantasies are born by exceeding what exists now, and that is why they are new. When you are fantasizing about something, you may not even be aware at first that it’s a new idea. At the same time, we may often pass by something with the vague thought of “Why isn’t it like this?” or “Isn’t this more natural?” In order to create new things through fantasies, we also need to be aware of unframing our thoughts, as well as to have skills that help us get a firm grip on them as ideas and bring them to realization.
Based on the author’s experience, the ways of thinking and the knack of conceiving ideas are introduced concretely in this book. Stimulating phrases such as “verbalization is the strongest thinking tool,” “invention is the mother of necessity,” “angelicity and demonicity,” and “brainstorming doesn’t work” that appear in the book are all based on research and teaching activities that the author actually conducted in universities and companies. Useful information not only for those engaged in research activities and students but also for all those who need to create new things is contained in the book.
(Written by REKIMOTO Junichi, Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies / 2021)
Everyone has a secret switch in their mind. : Junichi Rekimoto at TEDxTodai (TEDxTalks Sept. 1, 2013)