Helpful Hints to Organize Great Ideas Innovatively

Innovation FestToday marks the first BU Innovation Fest when, as an institution, we will come together to discuss great ideas to make BU better. Most of us have experienced having a phenomenal idea (big idea here), but then the process of moving the big idea to communicable form, so others can experience it, build on it, celebrate it, etc., is daunting, preventing us from sharing the innovative idea at all. One possible writing process to enlist as aid to moving the idea to communicable form is organization.

I am not going to lie to you, my readers. This post is multi-purpose. It will have competing voices scrambling to be heard from the grips of its sentences. The voices are competing for your attention. This is an example of how organization can affect the outcome. Please read on!

Writing helps us communicate anything well. It allows us the ability to preview our thoughts and words before others read them. Many are skilled in oratory, and they can choose their words as if they were free-falling from the sky and ripe for picking. He stood with his face raised to the ceiling, eyes shut, Adonis, his arm outstretched in anticipation of what lie waiting. His hand opened and closed several times, as if he were testing the air. A grown man, just born and greedy with eagerness to absorb all that was ripe for the picking. At last, he opened his hand, fingers shutting carefully around megalomaniac. “I have it!” he exclaimed. I do not share an affinity with words verbally. While I am skilled at writing, it takes me a while to organize my thoughts, so the more I revise and organize, the better my ideas are.

Organization is trending currently in part because of shows like Hoarders where people try to take back control of their lives. The less trendy form of organization has to do with writing. And yet, it is just as important. When we take back control of accumulation and simplify, we feel like we can operate more efficiently and effectively. When we take control of our ideas by organizing them and revising them, we give ourselves power, authority, and agency. Anyone who is skilled in writing is often skilled in communicating his or her desires. That individual has agency and knows how to achieve what s/he wants.

How does one organize his or her writing? Well, it depends. It depends on one’s purpose and audience. If someone is writing a blog, then the organization should be different from someone writing an argumentative essay on philosophy. A blog needs to be interesting in the first paragraph, inviting. It needs to share its purpose in a way that readers will respond to. Ahem, adding humor as necessary. Will the written work require historical background or cultural context? Is this required early on in the writing? Why? What advantages will that offer your overall point to readers? Does your writing hinge on a definition: would it be advantageous for you to define a term before moving forward with examples? Should this author have provided the definition of organization as the fulcrum to this post? Would that have made it less daft? Will you present your best evidence first, your most complex ideas last?

And in the beginning there was…the beginning and Omega, er, the ending. The beginning and the ending are relatively short and easy to organize. We often develop our ideas around the introduction and conclusion.   Alternatively, the middle can be more difficult because one has to deal with those vexing questions of selecting and presenting evidence/material. Two forms of organization that are currently waning are climactic order and time order. Climactic order is when you present your least important idea first and move toward your most important, most convincing idea. Or, you might present simpler ideas first and move toward more complex ones. Overall, this method builds your essay toward emphatic climax. Time order is when one presents ideas in accordance with time sequence. At the same time, one narrates how the ideas developed in relation to the order of how the events occurred.

In conclusion, this post could have benefited from outlining and mapping, two well-known methods for organizing ideas. That would have struck down the dissenting voices and cleared up the author’s purpose: how does one organize and why is it important to academic discourse? In this post, I have tried to present ways to think about organization that were fresh and entertaining in an innovative manner.

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