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Micro-Stories, Daisies And Dandelions. Segmentation Makes The Product Attractive Both In Journalism And In The Nature

| On 16, Oct 2003

By Kalevi Rantanen
TRIS OY
Brahenk. 9 E 18
FIN-20100 TURKU, FINLAND
phone/fax +358 2 251 1623
E-mail: kalevi.rantanen@kolumbus.fi
http://www.kolumbus.fi/kalran

Before Christmas 2002 I wrote with my wife a serial newspaper story consisting of 24 microstories.
My wife has used riddles for teaching mother tongue to children. We got an idea: why not to make riddles on Christmas? Riddles should be very simple and the answers should be “Christmas words”.
An example: “He lives in the North. He brings presents in Christmas. Who is he?” Further we thought that it would be not bad to “segment” the story. One riddle should be published every day from December 1 to 24. These days are included into so called “Christmas calendar”. The reader will wait the following riddle and the story will be more exciting. A newspaper liked the idea. An array of micro-stories occurred to be more saleable and attractive than a conventional “big” story.
In summer I observed daisies and dandelions. They attract insects very same way as we attracted readers.
The yellow center disc of the daisy, that we usually see as a “flower”, is actually composed of hundreds of tiny florets. Florets are convenient cups of refreshment for many small insects. In Internet I found a text of Jack Sanders, an editor of the Hersam Acorn Newspapers in Connecticut, USA. He has been writing about wildflowers for 25 years. He says of the daisy: “The ox-eye daisy may seem a simple flower, but it is actually rather complex and even contradictory.” (see Sanders 2003)
Here we meet a keyword of TRIZ, contradiction, on a remote branch of science, botany. Really, a flower should be small to “serve” well small insects, and it should be big to advertise effectively itself. A big “flower” consisting of many florets resolves the contradiction ideally. Daisies are winners in biological competition on the Northern hemisphere. They and other plants having florets arranged in dense heads are, by Webster’s New Encyclopedic Dictionary, “often considered to be the most highly evolved plants”. Segmentation is important in biological evolution, too.
The flower or the dandelion uses the same principle. It is actually a bouquet of about 150 to 200 tiny flowers.
We can think that the nature has segmented a big flower to many small ones, or merged many small flowers to a big one. They is an examples of the principles 1 and 5 (see Rantanen & Domb 2002, “Simplified TRIZ”, Principle 1, 133 or principle 5, 140). They also illustrate patterns of evolution: transition to micro-level and macro-level (see “Simplified TRIZ”, 111-116). Yet once we see that evolution patterns in the nature, technology and business are similar to each other and they can be used to get new innovative solutions.

References
1. Sanders, J. A Flower Loved and Hated, http://www.acorn-online.com/hedge/daisy.htm, read 1 July 2003
2. Rantanen, K., Domb, E. Simplified TRIZ: New Problem Solving Applications for Engineers & Manufacturing Professionals, CRC St. Lucie Press, Boca Raton FL USA. 2002