Shooglebox: Shake up your thinking
Shooglebox is a place to squirrel away all the interesting, useful and intriguing stuff you come across in a way that makes it easy to review, explore and make new discoveries.
It’s for people whose sense of curiosity means they’re constantly finding things they want to explore further – people who recognise that creativity, fresh thinking, good ideas all start with curiosity and a life-long habit of noticing, searching out and squirrelling away more than other people.
It helps you collect all sorts of different material from multiple platforms – web pages, social media posts, videos, photos, notes, book extracts – and view everything as cards laid out in a simple visual grid.
It’s the perfect tool for:
Getting your head round a topic fast – when you’ve got an article or essay to write, a presentation to pull together quickly, or you need to become an "instant expert" on something.
Assembling lots of research material – particularly those messy stages when you’re digging deep or spreading your net wide to discover as much as you can.
Curating posts across social media – to keep tabs on favourite topics, people or brands with a single view of tweets, YouTube videos, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok posts. You can do this manually or with automated feeds.
Gathering inspiration for specific projects – whether it’s for work, study, home, a hobby, a holiday or an event you’re planning.
Squirrelling away all the random things that capture your interest every day – building a personal collection of seemingly unrelated scraps of information, quotes, extracts, web links, images and notes that might come in handy or yield fresh inspiration and surprises in future. The kind of thing people used to keep in commonplace books, scrapbooks or cardboard boxes of notes, cards and cuttings.
Everything you put into Shooglebox is represented by a card that’s automatically created when you paste or drag in a link, file or photo on your laptop or PC – or hit share on your phone if you’re using the Shooglebox Apple or Android app. You can edit the front and back of cards to highlight key information and add your own thoughts.
The visual card-based grid layout makes it easy – and fun – to stand back and review and explore everything you’ve collected, zooming in and out to spot themes, gaps or connections. You can add links between related cards, sticker or colour them to highlight themes, or shuffle them up to see if a different order sparks a surprise or an unexpected insight.
Once you’ve spent time exploring a topic or gathering lots of inspiration, you can use Shooglebox to share what you’ve found with others. You can share a box of cards and invite other Shooglebox users to collaborate with you – or you can get a read-only link to a box or a stack of cards to share it with people who don’t yet have a Shooglebox account. It's a neat and easy way to share information, inspiration and insights – and to get feedback and input from people before you start preparing a presentation or document. It’s much more efficient – and enjoyable – than bombarding people with multiple emails, attachments or links to uninspiring file-sharing folders.
The curiosity crisis
Your Shooglebox cards can become a catalyst for curiosity and creativity in those around you – inspiring them, too, to think out of the box!
At a time when it’s so easy to Google for the quick answer – or social media and search algorithms decide so much of what’s presented to us – we’re starting to live through a kind of curiosity crisis that’s having a big impact not just on the way individuals think and behave, but on teams, businesses and educational institutions.
Shooglebox is for individuals and teams who want to go beyond the first answer, the quick assumption. Not accepting anything at face value but digging deeper and going wider than others when researching a specific topic – and combining that with a passion for the constant discovery of new information, general knowledge and experiences. It's for the kind of people James Webb Young describes in his classic book A Technique for Producing Ideas.
The challenge if you’re one of those curious types is you’re constantly spotting things when you’re busy doing something else. You end up with scores of tabs open on your web browser or notes spread across books, apps and bits of paper. The Shooglebox Apple and Android app makes it quick and easy to save everything you find with a couple of clicks so it’s all there in one place when you have time to come back and look at it later.
Shooglebox acts a bit like a second memory – like German sociologist Niklas Luhmann's boxes of cards or Zettelkasten that he thought of as a communication partner who constantly surprises you. Over time, as you add links between cards, it helps you see things in new lights and helps you make those unexpected connections between things that so often leads to breakthrough thinking and new ideas.