Monday, 26 September 2011

A mulling layer

After my previous post on my approach to research, I realised I might have missed out a layer in the process (or at least undervalued it).

The idea of a pool-of-memes approach is to collect in your mind a set of useful/relevant memes, then let them mull.  However, what I actually do is a bit more structured than that.  The pool actually has a second layer, containing ideas that have occurred to me as particularly promising.  I'll tend to actually write down these ideas and I'll come back to them periodically and consciously work on improving them.

This has the advantage of letting me refine my most promising ideas, as well as sometimes combining them into 'research arcs' (single, coherent research projects that will lead to multiple, related outcomes).  It also makes it easier to develop ideas that might have some merit but be undercooked, currently.

Having this intermediate layer is also quite useful in terms of time management.  It allows me to focus a bit more time on the ideas I think are promising, but without committing the significant chunk of full-on work time that a "small bet" requires.

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