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The Link-Up is the combining of two established ideas to create a new and different idea.

The Link-Up is the principal action of creativity. It is the bonding of two creative elements to form new creative matter: a new idea: a new creative possibility. It is the basic reaction taking place at the core of Material Fusion.

ball bullet How does Link-Ups Work?

All creativity moves from the Specific (the subject of interest that is being analysed through creativity) to the general (the new creative ideas coming out the Mixology stage of creative thinking).

The Specific Idea is the material, concept, theory, understanding etc. that a creative work is analysing, and from which the creative work is intended to be built.

The Link-Ups Creative Technique is implemented as follows:

  1. Begin with specific ideas. It will help if each specific idea is set out in the form of a problem statement. See IWWM & 5W1H for examples of ideas formatted as problem statements.
  2. Take two or more separate ideas - these can be related or unrelated to the specific idea. Ideas can be emotions, objects, actions, colours etc. The more challenging and diverse the ideas, the more original will be the creative outcome.
  3. Explore different ways of linking these ideas together.
  4. Search out concepts (i.e. new ideas, thoughts and approaches) arising from the linking process.
  5. Apply these new concepts back to a specific idea.
  6. This process will result in base (or seed) ideas that can develop into opportunities for the creative development of your specific idea (known as ‘points of departure’).

ball bullet Illustration: Link-Ups

The following shows how the Link-Ups Creative Technique has been used in the construction of The Tailor.

One of the themes of the Tailor is of the river that runs through the valley where the story takes place.

The character Anjali’s relationship with the river symbolises her inevitable progression towards the aspirations formed by her experiences.

The specific idea involved can be written in the format IWWM:

IWWM the river become instrumental in directing Anjali's course of action?

Now Link-Up of three discrete ideas from which creative General Ideas are derived:

Memory - Water - Mud

Concepts derived from this Link-Up:

  • Clarity emerging out of darkness.
  • Water washes away the obscure.
  • Water as metaphor.
  • We are all wallowing in mud and dreaming of solid ground.
  • Our only certainty consists of the small finds we dig out of mud.
  • Memories flow past us like water.
  • We can never stop the flow of memory, but we can harness it.

* * * 

Points of Departure derived from applying these concepts, created through the Link-Up, back to the initial specific idea:

  1. Anjali followed the footpath, which was muddy in places, and sat down on the dry stone wall edging of the bridge.  She could see the water playing across boulders and tugging at willow branches as it ran down towards her from upstream.  The cold and angled light of the late afternoon made the water appear to flow like silk.

  2. Anjali fell silent.  She had suddenly realised that these were just words.  She had started to doubt herself.  Design is the answer to a series of questions.  Questions arise out of doubt.  All design is built on a foundation of doubt.

  3. Designing garments springs from necessity, just as the river springs from the unavoidable flow of water from the hills.  Water makes a river, and the river has no choice but to flow.  Design makes a true tailor, and a true tailor has no choice but to create.’

  4. Then there was a ripple of wind across the valley.  The flat surface of the waters creased and a light drizzle, which had come from nowhere, trimmed the surface with a sequin of circles.  The pattern had altered.  The river was running with reflections again.

  5. Anjali stared deeply into the weaving waters and the outline of an idea soaked into her mind.

These points-of-departure are further developed to form the passages on Page 16 of the Tailor.