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How to structure your creative contributions

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 19, 2020
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How to add your creative contribution to this platform

We previously focused on how to create a session and how to post an idea. Now we focus on how to contribute within a brainstorming session.

Like everything else on the platform, this is a collaborative and iterative process. These best practices on how to add your creative contributions should be compatible with our general principles of collaboration.

Please add your suggestions below. I will keep updating this description until we get it right.

Creative contributions

For the purposes of this brainstorming platform, creative contributions are our best attempts at bringing progress to the issue at hand.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Be maximally useful (high signal, low noise)
  • Focus primarily on what the session description asks for
  • Use the title to summarize your entire contribution in the least amount of words
  • One topic per contribution. Add multiple contributions focusing on individual points.
  • Avoid repetition. Check what others have contributed thus far.
  • Edit/update your contributions to include suggestions from other people

Consider that there would be many contributions to any session. People might not be able/willing to read everything. They are interested in the topic and will surely skim through the titles. They might go through the entire contribution only if they find it relevant.

The goal is not to trick people into reading, but to actually contribute value and truthfully represent it within the title.

The difference between comments and creative contributions

Creative contributions can be seen as starting points - directions that can bring progress to the session objective. We then talk to each other via the comments.
Creative contributions

Avoid repetition

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 19, 2020
Go through the existing creative contributions/ suggestions before you mention yours. Create a new creative contribution only if yours differs from the existing ones, at least by 50%. If it does not, and if you still have some minor points to add, add them via a comment to the closest creative contribution. The same goes for "examples". Instead of creating a new creative contribution, add them via comments.
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Segment your thoughts into multiple contributions (logical parts)

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 22, 2020
If you have several different suggestions, create a separate contribution for each logically distinguished suggestion. This way people can discuss each point individually rather than replying to a bunch of them at the same time.

By dividing your thoughts into individual contributions, you make it easier to skim/read as well.
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High signal, low noise

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 23, 2020
The reader strives to extract the useful info wrapped in a bunch of text. As a writer, the more wrapping you provide, the more work the reader has to go through to get to the info. Why make it hard on them?

Consider that your contribution will not be the only one. The more everyone wraps (beautify, embellish, make sound smart or poetic) their info, the higher the overall percentage of noise and the poorer the reader's experience.

The info is the magnet for the reader. All the wrapping is the author shining through their content. A writer's equivalent of posting a selfie on Instagram.

We people strive to put our foot down, build a reputation, identity, a place in society. if we are writers, how else are we going to do it? There is a way.

By cutting the wrapping and boosting the signal, you assume the role of informational mother Theresa.

Remove yourself from the info. Aim to condense everything you have to say into an abstract. Providing amazing info adds up. After reading your contribution people's first thought should be "wow, thank you!". This can't always be achieved, but you can strive toward it.

Be informational mother Theresa:)
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State the facts and avoid presenting your "case"

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Dec 02, 2020
Although sessions ask for your opinions, avoid getting trapped into the zone of presenting your case. You don't have to mention and stress every single detail in your contribution in a way that tries to convince the reader that that detail needed to be mentioned. Simply present the facts. Let the reader make up their mind regarding your contribution without you "leading" them to the emotion you had when you wrote it. In fact, do encourage the reader to have alternative opinions - they are entitled to them. Moreover, those opinions may help you solve your problem. You may use the "comments section" to add additional details regarding your suggestion if other users ask for it. While doing so, see that you stay on track (answer what the session requires) and do not get carried away.
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