ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

Ideas Aloft – A Reflection on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Posted by Plish on October 28, 2013

Winds rustled the trees and chilled me as I walked through the woods.  A marsh bordered my path and I was amazed by the volume of white fluffy seeds, swirling and dancing on the winds.

It got me thinking about the need for seeds to leave where the place they were grown so that they could begin again.  I thought about ideas and a metaphor presented itself:

What if ideas were seeds?

I filmed what I saw and wrote a haiku to get myself (and you!) to think about the process of getting ideas implemented, of the powers that need to be present to move an idea to fruition.

Alas, I’m writing too much. Here’s the short 24 second video.  Enjoy, and spend some time with the images and thoughts!

I’d love to hear yours…

Posted in creativity, Design, innovation, meditation, nature, Nature of Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Need Inspiration and Insights Into Human Nature? Don’t Miss These Sites!

Posted by Plish on February 21, 2011

I was recently asked for sites that I go to for online inspiration from a design standpoint.

The first, I’ve mentioned here before.  It’s AskNature.org - an inspiring portal for seeing how Nature solves problems.

The second is a site that I write for on occasion (and wish I had more time to write for), Trendhunter.com. They actually give away a browser toolbar that has a list of various trend sites - it’s a great resource  for ideas.

The last three are wonderful (and sometimes quite entertaining) in that they have a uniquely human touch to them.

The first, HighIdeas.com , touted as “the best ideas (while you’re high)”, often has contributions that make you think, say “hmmm….”  and reach for the Cheetos.  (For the record, I have never contributed to this site)

Halfbakery is a listing of “half-baked” ideas. It describes itself as, “a communal database of original, fictitious inventions, edited by its users. It was created by people who like to speculate, both as a form of satire and as a form of creative expression.” Some of the ideas here are not all that half-baked.

Last, but by no means, least, there is Failblog.   This site is a catalog of failures.  It also has a  subdomain that is particularly thought provoking:  There I Fixed It -Redneck Repairs .   This site is chock full of everyday people’s solutions to everyday problems. (For the record, I have never submitted to this site, though quite truthfully, I probably could have.)  There is brilliance hidden here.

What sites do you find particularly inspiring or revealing of human nature?

Posted in Authenticity, Biomimicry, creativity, Design, idea generation, imagination, innovation, nature, problem solving, The Human Person, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Flashes of Brilliance -Thoughts on Innovation While Watching a Lightning Storm (Video)

Posted by Plish on June 18, 2010

Posted in creativity, culture of innovation, Design, idea generation, imagination, innovation, nature, Nature of Creativity, problem solving | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Your Ideas: Your Gift of Beauty to The World

Posted by Plish on May 10, 2010

I was recently reading the new, Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality,  by  Soctt Belksy, the founder and CEO of Behance.

The book is about bringing ideas to frution and it’s chock full of techniques and  pearls of wisdom.  One that really got my attention , was this:

“Please take yourself and your creative pursuits seriously.  Your ideas must be treated with respect because their importance truly does extend beyond your own interests. Every living person benefits from a world that is enriched with ideas made whole – ideas that are made to happen through your passion, commitment, self-awareness, and informed pursuit.

Challenge yourself to withstand the self doubts and societal pressures that will rally against you. When they do, take comfort in the knowledge that you are in good company.  We all struggle, but we persevere.  Adversity makes us stronger.  Relish the fact that you are on an important path, emboldened by both the opportunity and grave responsibility to create something of value – a value that is rewarding for you and enriching for all.”

Step back…

Breathe…

Think about it…

In the day to day grind it’s too easy for us to lose track of the fact that what we’re providing to our families, employers, clients and the world,  are not faceless concepts. 

We enflesh ideas - our gifts come with a face!

We need to fight for our ideas, to stand by them, to even let them go if need be.   We need to realize that humans are privileged with the supranatural capacity to bring beauty into the world.

What is this supranatural capacity?

A flower drops its seeds to guarantee more beauty next year.  It is the natural way for a flower to bring beauty into the world.  Humans bring beauty into existence through the work of our minds, hearts, hands and relationships. Sure, by nature we have this capacity, but it’s also a choice we make.  It’s a both/and type of situation.  We are able to create outside of, or above, the natural order, all the while still being a part of it.   It’s supra (above) - natural.

Sound pretty awesome?

It is!

A fish brings its beauty of ‘fishness’ to the world even while dropping its waste products into the water it swims in.  But it has no choice and it can’t improve the situation on its own.  If it over-populates and over-pollutes its waters, its population naturally dies back to bring the system back into balance.

If a bunch of  fishes had the supranatural capacity of humans they would realize that their actions impact the environment and respond accordingly.   But they don’t.  They’re fishes that are part of, and act  naturally within, their system.   Humans willingly ignoring their supranatural capacity (and interestingly enough not acting ‘naturally’ any more)   will be at the mercy of the system (and vice-versa!), and like the above mentioned fishes,  throw the system out of whack until the people die back. 

So you see, acknowledging the supranatural aspect of human nature isn’t an option.  It’s a necessity.

It’s a prerequisite to bringing beauty to the world through our ideas; to building  sustainable cultures of innovation that respect people and the world.

Before my mother died she told me, ‘You’ve been given so many gifts, you bring beauty to the world in so many ways; never stop bringing beauty to the world.”

My mom’s desire for me, is also my desire for you.

Please take your responsibility seriously.

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, Evolution, Human Rights, imagination, innovation, love, nature, Nature of Creativity, Society, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Success is Born in Innovative Cultures That Thrive on Good (and Bad!) Ideas

Posted by Plish on February 26, 2010

greenuniversebymichaelplishka

“New ideas pass through three periods: 1) It can’t be done. 2) It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing. 3) I knew it was a good idea all along!” – Arthur C. Clarke

Over the course of the last week I’ve been coming across multiple articles on the value of ideas.

There was this article that basically says ideas are random useless things with little value unless you commercialize them and then gives guidelines  for implementing ideas.

Then there was this great article from a wonderful new innovation community through Maddock Douglas  saying that good ideas are born from empathy.

Then there was this article that is not really about how to use ideas, but is about the development history of a system for washing clothes without using detergent.  In the middle of the article there is the following quote (Note my italicized section):

The idea for EcoSafe grew out of conversation the three inventors had four years ago after watching a news report on a detergent-less washing system that turned out to be a flop. “We knew it was a scam, but we were amused by the whole idea,” says Briggs. “We were laughing about it, but I said to Eddie, ‘Is it possible to do laundry without using detergent?’”

So, where do I stand with regards to ideas?

The first two articles talk about commercializing ideas, using ideas to make money.

The third highlights a totally different aspect – an idea that was a flop led to success.

Ideas are not just about commercialization; they’re about inspiration, about seeding the mind. They’re the uniquely human fruit that begins to sprout the moment they’re free of our bodies.  In this context, even a bad idea might turn out to be good…and a good idea might scare the pants off those in upper management.

 “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” – Howard Aiken

Good ideas should be dangerous!  For that matter, all ideas -even the bad ones- will be dangerous if people (and the culture) have a basic orientation towards innovation.

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” – Oscar Wilde

So next time you’re trying to see if an idea will see the light of day and running it through a gamut of gates, try allowing yourself to be judged by the idea.  Ask yourself, “What does this idea say about our company, our division, our people, about myself?”  If it doesn’t inspire, if it doesn’t cause you to be knocked off guard, it may be less of an idea and more a harmless reflection of what you, and the market, already know.

Posted in Best Practices, Creative Environments, Creativity Leadership, culture of innovation, idea generation, innovation, problem solving, The Human Person, The Innovation Equation, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Cool New Patent Analysis Tool

Posted by Plish on August 13, 2009

Over on LinkedIn I came across a new website that offers some intriguing Artificial Intelligence and Pattern Recognition webtools.  But the one I like the most is the Patent Search tool that not only shows patents in the field you’re looking in but allows you to get an approximation of the value of each patent.

For illustration purposes I  ran a search for U.S. patents that have the terms “Camera” and “Flexible”  in the Abstract. The results are shown below:

patent1

The results show the following:

1. If a box is outlined, it means the patent in that row belongs to the subclass of the column.

2. The number in the column/row intersection is equal to the number of subclasses in the patent plus the number of patents from the search that are in that subclass.  The higher this number, the more valuable the patent can be seen to be.

3. The shade of blue helps carve out islands of similar groups of numbers.

After you run this search you can check on the patents you’d like to look at more and click the ‘Find Similar’ button to obtain a sorting operation.

Personally I like this engine.  I even found some other patents that didn’t show up when doing other web based searches.  I also like how the various relationships between various patents and classes are depicted.  It does give a great lay of the land in that respect.   It also excels in showing where there might be holes in the patent landscape.

After talking to the developers of this tool, they made it clear that they have much more in pipeline from a development perspective, so this search engine is destined to become cooler and more useful still.

Posted in Disruptive Innovation, idea generation, innovation, invention, Market Assessment, patents, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

Case Study: All Waters Are Not The Same

Posted by Plish on November 12, 2008

Which One Is Less Than Optimal Design?

Which One Is Less Than Optimal Design?

Take a look at the above picture.  Which one is designed less than optimally?  It’s actually ironic.  There are three different approaches to optimizing the water pouring experience.  However, one product doesn’t do the best job of addressing what happens before the bottle reaches the consumer. Think about it.

You take your bottle of water off the shelf and bring it to the register.  You place it on the belt and the cashier scans the bottles price.  It doesn’t scan. 

She tries again. 

No dice. She turns the bottle on the side and it finally scans.

The center bottle of Ice Mountain has its barcode above the level of the scanner.

Bar Code Is Above The Level of Most Scanners

Bar Code Is Above The Level of Most Scanners

A quick rendering (below) of the alternative shows that it looks pretty good. Reading the lettering is harder in the mountains.  My guess (and no offense to Marketing) is that the decision to have the bar code higher was largely an aesthetic decision.   A creative and very cool, grippable bottle makes a sacrifice in design that the folks at the cash register have to pay for.

Flip-Flopping Info And Bar Code

Flip-Flopping Info And Bar Code

Posted in Case Studies, innovation, problem solving | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Virtues of Wine…

Posted by Plish on November 1, 2008

Good for the Stomach, Good for Ideas...

Good for the Stomach, Good for Ideas...

Researchers have shown that people speak learned foreign languages better after a couple of drinks.  The reason is that people aren’t as critical of themselves and they aren’t afraid to make mistakes.  So, the kicker is–they don’t.  They speak more fluently.

There’s a reason why people brainstorm over a couple of drinks.  A drink or two suspends judgement of ideas.  It’s not that the ideas are necessarily more creative, it is that the ideas are allowed out into the open where they can percolate and cross-pollinate.  Trust your ideas, trust yourself.

So next time, have a glass of wine if you find yourself needing ideas.  Not too much, there is a point of diminishing returns…

Posted in Creative Thinking Techniques, idea generation | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Problem Solving for Cash

Posted by Plish on October 30, 2008

I came across this website for Innocentive.  You are able to look at various problems and then propose solutions to which you can receive money in return. 

You will be bound by confidentiality issues with this so it can stay on the up and up.  It’s a great way to polish your problem solving skills and maybe make a few bucks in the meantime.

Good Luck!!

Posted in idea generation, patents, problem solving | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Creation of Music

Posted by Plish on October 27, 2008

I was surfing over at oddmusic and I am amazed at some of the instruments that have been invented! 

The Hank Drum and its derivatives are really slick!  I personally use a cool wire mesh garbage can for some interesing sounds.

Flipped Over Makes a Cool Drum

Flip Over to Make Drum

So the creativity exercise for today is to play with a musical instrument, or design a new instrument.  Who knows, you might be creating a tool that will increase creativity!

Posted in Brain Stimulation Tools, idea generation, Musical Creativity, Science | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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