As much as I enjoy writing stories for KlurgSheld readers around the world, it doesn’t put food on the table. The ‘About Me’ page covers what I’ve already done. Here, I’ll tell you what I’d like to do. If you’re in a position to pay me handsomely for doing it, or you know someone who is, please email me at Gzn0rk26 at GMail dot c0m. (Just remember to swap those zeros for ‘o’s, and to punctuate the address properly.) If geography is important, I live near Seattle, in the US state of Washington.
I approach the problem of extracting a story premise from an idea or from an event in the news in much the same way that I approach solving problems in general. My exposure to Edward de Bono‘s concept of Lateral Thinking on my first IT job has had a lasting impression on me. That is why I don’t assume that the first solution I find, or the first potential cause of something, is either the correct one, or even the only one. It is also why I tackle maze puzzles from both ends. So, for example, I’ll ask myself, ‘For whom is X a problem?’ and look at the world from there. I’ll also examine the problem from various points of view, which invites insights from fields that may at first glance seem to be as unrelated to one another as metaphysics is to hierarchal databases. This interdisciplinary mindset is a surprisingly fertile ground for harvesting worthwhile insights from a field of wild tangents.
The scope of the job I envision begins with the harvesting of information which surrounds the problem. This is done by interviewing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), by examining how the problem is currently being handled and the tools used to do it, and by researching subjects that are suggested by the nature of the problem as potential sources of insights or solutions. With this in hand, I step inside the problem, just as if I were crafting a story, to understand its hidden implications and interactions, so that I can create one or more narratives. These are often told from the point of view of stakeholders, and not necessarily the ones identified during data collection. Finally, I write a document that lays out a viable path through the collected bracken that offers a solution in the form of a design for a process, an interface, or something even more interesting.
That is what I would like to spend my time doing. Unfortunately, when an employer identifies the need to find a person, the accepted method is to refine it so that specific tasks and background can be enumerated, and only people matching those requirements are even considered. Which is why I’m trying a different approach, working backwards from the end, as I would in a maze.
P. Orin Zack