Sciencefictionally-Speaking

August 27, 2007

I’ve invented another word, Sciencefictionally.

I was at a Design Party this last Friday. We working on designing various systems, some of them very general (social) and some specific (software). During the course of the event I observed that the progress we made depended on the level of acceptance we could maintain. Improv comedy shares the same principle, where the quality of the comedy depends on all of the actors accepting the other actors lines such that a seamless behavior can occur. This allows for the observation of larger themes to emerge and for unexpected events to occur.

Sciencefictionally-speaking was my way of inducing the group to accept my comments unconditionally (at least temporarily). For example I would say something like this, “Sciencefictionally the document would be multi-dimensional, having a z-axis as well as x and y.” This prevents people from rushing to ask what this would mean for the interface or what the appropriate data structure would be. And not only does the word protect the idea from knee-jerk analysis, but also from the progenitor’s tendency for self-censorship.

Like improv comedy, this type of group-design-creativity takes a lot of practice. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a word to drive the theme of acceptance.

PS: I’m still debating on whether it should be spelled science-fictionally or sciencefictionally.

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