Apply Different Filters



Whether you are aware of it or not, you apply certain Filters to anything you Observe. When you settle for the default, sometimes unconscious Filters, you might miss numerous aspects of the subject you explore.

Intentionally Applying Different Filters will expose different aspects and traits of the things you Observe. By masking out other details, you gain deeper, more profound insights. When you explore one dimension at a time and then reframe it in the broader context, you gain new insights. When insights that originate from Applying Different Filters are combined, you will see the subject in a new light, which in turn yields new ways to use it as an ingredient in future creations.

Filters can be applied to physical aspects as well as to conceptual ones. Applying Different Filters changes the subject you Observe and your mental model of it.

actionable steps

No matter what you observe, apply different filters to it. Notice new traits and various associations. Consider their impact on how you perceive the observed subject. Consider also the interactions between different traits and how they affect one another.

Use all your senses. Don’t limit Observe to visual traits.

Apply Filters to physical subjects and scenes and conceptual ones like ideas.

Use Filters that work on physical traits and Filters working on conceptual ones.

Don’t get hooked on one Filter, even if you find it useful. Keep Changing Filters to rediscover the observed subject.

Combine Filters with other Observations Practices like Zoom-In — Zoom Out, Play with Abstractions, and Change Perspective.


Example 1

Observe a physical object. Isolate one aspect of it, like color, shape, texture, smell, sound, etc. Focus on that aspect and explore it while masking all other traits of the subject.

Apply the different Observation Axes (Zoom, Abstraction, and Perspective) specifically to the view you have through the applied Filter.

Explore how the filtered aspect interacts with the whole and affects it.

Example 2

Think of a challenge you are facing. Apply a conceptual Filter, for example, its historical trend. By exploring the challenge through these concrete glasses, you might generate insights otherwise masked by the challenge’s multiple dimensions and aspects.

further exploration

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