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Is it possible to automatically combine many ideas about a given thought into a single more coherent thought? This is commonly what a focused group discussion is about. In school, they are called seminars or lectures and will have a stated theme, such as “Why do cuttlefish change appearance?” The presentation could enhance the subject with links, like Cuttlefish and the search for unknown unknowns.

Cuttlefish eyes

Cuttlefish eyes from Google search images

What about routinizing the very idea of searching an idea even before you go to a lecture on the subject and discovering the key ideas and pulling them together into a coherent image? Even more important than preparing for a known idea, what about searching for an idea where the idea isn’t even known to be unknown, or perhaps is known only in a very blurry form for some strange perspective? Imagine how powerful a concept this would be if you could search for ideas that no one had ever thought about before. Is there a way to search into the unknown unknowns?

On a similar theme, there is a method of combining many photographs of a given image called focus stacking. A common use of this technique is in close-up macro photography of insects where a dozen or more identical photos are taken with the focus adjustment slightly altered. Portions of the insect will be out of focus on every photo but other portions will be in focus. There are programs available such as Helicon Focus that will take the areas of each image that are in focus and blend the whole stack using only the sharp portions into a single sharp photograph. The results can be very impressive.

It is easy to do online searches and find stuff relevant to your topic, but that will only be related to the known ideas linked to that selected topic. What if you did a screen capture of that search finding, and then saved a separate window of a similar search, and then added another search that adds a curious term, and another, and another up to, say, nine windows visible on your screen at a glance? Some of those searches will go way off topic, but try to discover overlaps of an idea. Bring up a screen of synonyms and one of the antonyms that are related to your search subject. Pay attention to current new and evolving technology that is even remotely related to your search idea.

By having many semirelated ideas floating around a new idea, a really new and useful idea might spring into existence.