4th August 2015 Ravi Ruparel

A beautiful equation thing, hopefully

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It may well be in the eye of the beholder but I think that there is a special beauty when math and creativity come together.

A thought entered my head a few years ago that has never really left, it helped me to recently work out a way to have gazillion new ideas in minutes. Read on if you would you like to know how.

The thought was ‘What if there was a formula for coming up with a good idea?’ and it has never left my mind.

Surrounded by dragon’s den on TV, $billion start ups, marketing stunts jumping out of every billboard and a general move by all to seek out a good idea, this thought just sat there. Then one day I got a call from someone important at a very important publicity company. I call him Mr. Important. “Ravi, can you help?” We want someone to come to the office and teach our young ones about disruptive and creative projects, how to come up with good ideas and to make them happen? “Yup I can do that”, was my quick response. This was the accelerant I needed; the fuel for the rocket, the Chas for our Dave and my Kylie for your Jason moment I needed, ‘especially for me’. In a warped way this was also the confirmation I had long expected, I am a little bit wonky but who really cares, right?

Within a few weeks I had consolidated 10 years of thoughts and applied them to invent a game. Helped and inspired by my colleagues we made ‘the Cray game’; had it designed, made and delivered hot off a Polish press in three weeks (thanks Maciej and Sophie). The walls of my office are now stacked with little brown boxes waiting for you. The game is made up of some math, a simple wipe able board, a dice, a pen and just my (and your) imagination (running away with me). We tried it with a several other Mr. and Mrs. Important and they said things like this “A kick-ass way to bust out of boring brainstorms. Throw the dice and free your mind!” (Big hug, Nic McCarthy).

The game provides you with a format to quickly structure your thinking around a creative challenge (but can also be applied to planning your holiday or a naughty weekend away). It allows you to easily broaden your thoughts, add loads of inputs and gives you a lateral view of things, just like that. It forces you to think quickly so you don’t need to worry about confidence issues when speaking out your ideas. Most important, by complete accident it really opens up the ability to have a bucket load of ideas very, very quickly. This is where the math comes in.

In the game, you have to map out 10 rows of things that are related to your challenge, with 6 items in each row (One for each side of the dice). You connect the things to create ideas. Simples, right? So how many potential ideas are there on this single side wipe board? Have a guess. 60, 100, 1,000? All wrong. The answer is more like 8.32098711*10^81 according my cousin who really knows her math (and said it could be bigger or smaller depending on order and other things (thanks Chandni)). Yup, it’s that big. It’s like a fazillion, bazillion. Seriously, wowsers. It’s to do with an area of math called Permutation. Having played it with several creative teams now I have seen people literally have creative diarrhoea playing it and some of the ideas have already been implemented and have led to not only more creative souls but original magic at work, for their clients.

We all want to have good ideas and sometimes it’s hard. I think I have come up with one way to help you have loads and I would love to deliver a version of the game to your desk. At this stage I need feedback, doors open and to just play it with creative animals. I have 30 available for free and none for sale (yet! as I have sold the rest). I would love it if you would come and play with me. Drop me a line, like, tenner or brief (s). As a minimum, I promise to make you smile and you can always re-pack it and give to someone for Christmas.


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