Posted by Plish on August 7, 2015
The sky went from sunset blue to thick blackness that the windshield wipers swiped at with futility. The rain pounded the the car and an uneasy, queasy feeling filled the air as a tornado warning was issued.
I drove the rest of the way home and parked. To the west the worst was already breaking and salmon patches of sunset backlit clouds. To the north the blackness churned and lightning crackled from cloud to cloud as the thunder rumbled without pause.
(Mouse over and Click the play arrow and continue reading on the other side)
It’s in you!
That same power.
You’ve experienced those shocks that startle when you touch a doorknob on a dry day.
This is bigger and can change the world.
Lightning bridges gaps – tremendous expanses of space. It’s possible because of the difference in charge, a difference in potential. Lightning finds its way.
But you need to provide the stuff for creativity to happen.
Observe, read, smell, taste, listen, touch, dream! Understand the challenges you want to solve and then look at them from a different perspective, and then another, and then another!
Allow those differing perspectives to mix together and the clouds will rumble, the sky will flash, creativity will happen.
It’s in you.
Posted in Authenticity, brainstorming, Creative Environments, Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, idea generation, imagination, innovation, Nature of Creativity, observation, problem solving, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity, ZenStorming | Tagged: Authenticity, brainstorming, Creative Environments, creative problem solving, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, human authenticity, imagination, innovation, lightning, Nature of Creativity, observation, problem solving, Workplace Creativity, ZenStorming | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Plish on June 26, 2014
The crossing guard waved her arms and held up the stop sign. On my way to a prototype shop to pick up some parts, I slowed, and stopped, and watched.
Behind the yellow vested guard, thirty to forty seven year olds began crossing the street in a relatively organized manner, except for one girl. She wasn’t particularly tall as far as 7 year olds go. She had straight, dirty blonde, just-past-shoulder length hair, and was wearing a white number 4, Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers jersey. While her friends took a linear approach to street crossing, she took each step in a calculated manner.
With each step she reached with her little legs to the next reflective strip in the cross walk. Like Indiana Jones crossing a foot bridge, this little girl took a step, rebalanced, shuffled to get to the edge of the strip and then s t r e t c h e d her leg, pointing her toes, landing on the next reflective strip. Intensely concentrating on where she stepped and avoiding knocking into those around her, she wove her way across the street.
As I smiled at the beautiful play, I realized that this little girl, in this situation, embodies what’s necessary for there to be successful innovation.
1. Safe Space is Needed – She most likely couldn’t have done what she did if cars were whizzing through the crosswalk. The crossing guard stopped traffic and created a safe area. If you want people to be innovative, or for that matter, if you want to be innovative yourself, somehow the traffic has to be stopped. Someone, or something, has to run interference and create a space and time for innovation. Corporate politics and power plays are guaranteed innovation killers. There needs to be insulation from NOISE and distraction. If an innovator has to worry about getting hit by proverbial cars, she can’t create.
2. Give the Minimum Direction Necessary – The little girl was likely told: “Cross the street with your friends when the guard says it’s safe. Be sure to stay in the crosswalk!” She wasn’t told where to step, how many steps to take, or who she had to walk with. She knew she had to get from Point A to Point B. Too often there is a tendency to manage how people get from Point A to Point B. Don’t. There are infinite combinations of numbers that when added equal 4. It’s not simply 2+2. This goes for personal creativity as well. When in a creative endeavor, ask yourself if you’re simply taking the shortest distance between two points or if you’re exploring options. Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re taking the ‘easy’ way, or following everyone else, until we stop and ask ourselves what we’re doing.
3. Space for Fun/Exploration – To me, fun and exploration are largely synonymous. I alluded to this earlier. The girl was playing while accomplishing what was asked of her: crossing the street and staying in the cross-walk. As safe space is needed, so is space for playing. People need to explore, to try things out, to play and have fun while they innovate. At least they should. If someone isn’t having fun going from Point A to Point B, you should ask yourself if that person is the right person in the right place in the project. But, it’s not always the person! If someone isn’t having fun, this could also be an indication that above points 1 and 2 haven’t been implemented. If they haven’t, fun is much less likely to occur. Use this check for yourself as well. Are you passionate about what you’re doing? Are you having fun? If not, find out what it is that’s blocking the fun.
When you’re trying to create the best environment for innovation for yourself or others, picture the little girl in the Brett Favre jersey stepping from reflective strip to reflective strip while crossing the street. Remember the three guidelines and you might just find yourself coming up with more creative work and having fun doing it!
Posted in children, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, imagination, innovation, problem solving, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: children, creative cultures, Creative Environments, creative problem solving, creativity, crosswalk, culture of innovation, Design, designing innovation, imagination, innovation, innovative culture, Workplace Creativity | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Plish on July 13, 2013
I was extremely excited to check out the Inside 3D Printing conference. I had forgotten to put it into my calendar and almost missed it. While the speaker lineup for the conference looked interesting and provocative, for someone like myself who has been using 3D rapid prototyping technologies for somewhere between 10 and 15 years, there wasn’t enough to catch my eye for the price tag. So, I opted for registering at the door and walking the ‘expo’ portion of the conference. Besides, I had a few questions on some newer materials that I was hoping someone could answer.
When I walked through the doors I was, to say the least, underwhelmed. I believe I counted 14 exhibitors. Some of the exhibitors I was already well acquainted with (e.g. Stratasys, 3DSystems, netfabb), others, not so much. Nevertheless, there was some cool stuff at the show and below are some things I found really interesting, as well as some pictures of the event.
First and foremost, I was really impressed by the folks of www.thre3d.com. Check out the website. There you’ll find what they call (and what most likely is!), “The biggest interactive 3D printing directory.” It is a great resource for all things 3D printing. Research manufacturers, compare products, learn about different types of 3D printing. It’s a great resource. While you’re browsing, if you see something that you think needs improving, let them know via the feedback tab. They are very open to improving the service and genuinely nice people!
When you want to communicate to others what a finished design might look like, high-caliber rendering requires some serious computing power. It’s not uncommon to start a render before going to sleep and hope that when you wake up, the rendering program hasn’t crashed and you can see the finished result. Lagoa changes all that. Lagoa is a cloud based rendering system – lightning fast (minutes and seconds, not hours!), real-time, reasonable pricing and even has a free subscription! This needs to be seen to believed. I already have a free account and am starting to play with it.
There was also a very cool 3D paper printing technology from Mcor Technologies. Using a regular ream of copy paper, this technology is much cheaper than plastic printing and great for form and fit type models – plus you can print models in full color. You can also use them to make investment castings. And when your model isn’t needed anymore? Recycle it or compost it. Check out these models, and remember, that’s paper!
Here is a video of me using this slick Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 3D Printing, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, Digital Manufacturing, imagination, innovation, Innovation Tools, Maker Movement, Open Source, Sketching, The Future | Tagged: 3d printing, Design, Digital Manufacturing, fdm, innovation, inside 3d printing conference and expo, maker movement, open source manufacturing, rapid prototyping | 2 Comments »
Posted by Plish on November 14, 2012
Zintro recently blogged on the future of 3D printing. My thoughts are quoted in the article along with those of some colleagues.
In short, 3D printing (in all its facets) still isn’t on the ‘verge’ of launching into the mainstream. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a place for 3D printing in the world. I use it myself for testing product fit and function. But, even with newer materials being developed all the time, there are still limitations, especially for the ‘home printing’ demographic.
There’s also the problem with designing parts on your computer. Before anything can be printed it needs to first exist in the digital realm. In other words, the part needs to be built twice- virtually before it can be made in actuality.
The expertise to do this isn’t there yet. Computer Aided Design programs are pretty complicated. Even newer ones like Autodesk 123D, while they’re simpler, are not suited to anything other than the simplest parts. At the end of the design process, if someone isn’t willing to plunk down from $500-$5000, the model has to be sent to a place like Ponoko to be made.
So what does that mean?
There are some cool applications for 3D printing, especially in the medical realm. Still, the perfect fit for something that’s built layer by layer hasn’t been found.
Which brings me to another technology that’s slipped under the radar. While 3D printing’s promise of “You can make anything for yourself at any time!” is capturing headlines, this other technology is low-cost and capable of creating more than just toys.
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform. The parts are easy to find at a Radio Shack or online. To bring those parts to life, one needs to learn to program, and programming is a language.
Learning this language is within the reach of anyone with access to the internet or bookstore. With some basic knowledge, and tapping into a wealth of online expertise, you can design interactive products and environments.
Here’s a video from one of the founders of Arduino. He echoes many of my sentiments but one line is particularly memorable:
“You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”
The whole concept of intellectual property and patents will face some serious reckoning in the next 10 years.
Posted in creativity, Design, Disruptive Innovation, Entrepreneurship 2.0, Funding Innovation, idea generation, imagination, innovation, Innovation Tools, Open Source, software, The Future | Tagged: 3d printing, arduino, creativity, Design, Disruptive Innovation, Entrepreneurship, innovation, maker movement, Open Source, open source design, prototyping, zintro | 1 Comment »
Posted by Plish on September 15, 2012
I can’t go to all the Chicago Ideas Week events. But with your help, we can all experience more of them! First, you need to tell me where creativity is needed in the world.
Then, tell me what Talk or Lab you’d like to attend (unless it’s already sold out!) as I’m giving out a max of two tix once a day from Monday the 17th to Friday the 21st. http://www.chicagoideas.com/events
There is another catch. If you’re chosen, you’ll need to share your experience on this blog!
Let the games begin!
Posted in creativity, Design, imagination, innovation, ZenStorming | Tagged: chicago ideas week, contest, creativity, Design, innovation | Leave a Comment »