What is the Switchblades Creative Technique?

Switchblades creates a complete change in creative direction.

Switchblades is the ideal technique to use when either the creative approach you are taking just isn’t working, or alternatively if you wish to challenge your current creative direction.

How does Switchblades work?

As with all Glanside Creative Techniques you start with the Specific Idea you are currently working with.  In this case the specific idea embodies the direction, material, concept or theme that you are investigating or dissecting.  

The Switchblade is a completely new idea which comes out of left-of-field – i.e. that constitutes an extreme sideways glance at your specific idea.  To take this extreme position you need to use an approach that provokes the creative change-of-position that is required.  You can devise your own approach, but I always use the term Glanside as a means of reframing a creative approach. 

For instance: – 

  • Glanside leaders always walk in crocodile fashion.
  • Glanside chefs linger on major works.

The new creative points-of-departure – which can take your creative approach in a totally different direction – are now generated by thinking through what the consequences of each Switchblade would/could be for the specific idea you are addressing.

Demonstration: Switchblades

The following is a simple illustration of Switchblades.

The Specific Ideas

In this Illustration of the Switchblades Technique the specific idea will be the following themes: –

  • Digging for gold amongst dusty files
  • The consequences of new information

The General Ideas

The following Switchblades will now be used to cut through the above themes and thus provide a substantial change of direction in creative thinking.

  • A Glanside hobby-horse eats its rider
  • Glanside people have no ears
  • Glanside lawyers buy themselves a new reputation every year

The following are possible consequences of applying the above switchblades to the specific idea themes: – 

  • In dangerous times your sense of purpose has a sharper edge.  
  • Not only do you have to find information, you have to get people to listen to it.  
  • Secrecy is preserved by those around you not wanting to know.
  • People listen to those whose opinion they respect.
  • If the message is strong but people will not listen, what then?

Creative Thinking Technique: Switchblades

Revised Themes (i.e points-of-departure which can be further developed in a potential text):

Digging for gold amongst dusty files. Purpose with a sharp edge.

Searching for answers began as a hobby and then it became her daily obsession and, in time, her life’s work. At first it was shocking to come across the evidence, hidden in the Institute’s deepest archives. Then it became intriguing. Then it morphed into a dark necessity.

It was no surprise to her to find that such records still existed.  It took all her skill and much of her time to dig them out.  It would have taken someone, probably with a markedly lower commitment, the same amount of time and the same single-minded obsession to bury them.  Such dedicated industry – from those who now considered themselves invulnerable – was vanishingly rare.

It was also all that she could do. Like so many around her the events of the last five years had begun as a perception and quickly developed into a prison.  When every step you take could endanger the existence of your friends, your family and, in her case, lastly yourself, the natural and reasonable thing to do is to stand still.  But standing still was against her nature.  Her nature gave her no rest.  It picked at her.  She needed to do something. Digging through the institute’s files was at least something to do.

Secrecy is preserved by those around you not wanting to know.

She had collected the evidence of those recent and bloody events until there was barely a piece missing from the picture.  Even so, she had done nothing with any of the detailed files she had  uncovered – for it became clear that people did not want to know.  The things you ignore, the things about which you are ignorant, cannot touch you.  They cannot compel you.

She was, after all, a junior colleague.  It was easier to rebuke her for such dangerous indulgence than to lend her any credibility.  Credibility must be earned.  Credibility is obtained by the sustained performance of those things that are expected of you.  Credibility comes with age, commitment and gravity.

She no longer had the luxury of that ignorance available to her superiors.  And even if such a course of action had been available her nature would have railed against it.  She needed to find someone who would listen.

Digging was her thing.  If digging had unearthed information of such damaging nature, then a little further digging should unearth someone who would at least listen.  She continued to dig; but now she dug for contacts.  This was dangerous digging.  You cannot know the nature and intent of a new contact.  New contacts can blow up in your face.

Essential Glanside

A detailed process to manage the use of Creative Techniques for the development of original artwork and written work is set out in the section Essential Glanside.