• CEOs Are Asking for Creativity
• How Do I Find A Creative Expert?
• What Is Creativity?
• Why Is Creative Thinking
Creative Thinking Process
Myths About Creativity
Paralyzing Power of Previous
the Mind Works
Does Your Experience Affect
Are We So Critical?
Mind Has A Creative Immune System
10 Mental Blocks To Creativity
One "Right Answer"
Logic Can Kill Creativity
Be Creative - Break Some Rules
Be Creative - Is That Practical?
Play is Creative
Make Time To Think Creatively
Being Creative Is "Not My Job"
Don't Be Afraid To Be Creative
Is Creativity Wrong?
• The Sly As A
• Idea Rockets
• All Factors
Possible Alternatives (APA)
• Combination Creativity
• The Sly As
A Fox Workshop -
Bring Creative Thinking To Your Company
Challenge Accepted Concepts
Have you ever seen this pattern of letters before?
Most people’s first answer would be no. But if you’re like most of us, you see it all the time. It’s the first row of letters from left to right across your computer keyboard.
Shortly after typewriters hit the scene, secretaries began to learn how to type extremely fast. They became so fast that the type bars would tend to jam together. Engineers took the challenge to figure out how to solve the problem. The solution they came up with was, well different. They looked at common words and phrases in the English language. Based on this analysis they came up with a key design layout that would actually slow down the speed at which the common person could type. And the key layout was designed to minimize the possibility of keys jamming based on sequence of letters contained in common English words.
So the engineers came up with a design to make the secretaries less productive. A little awkward don’t you think?
Typewriters have been replaced with PC’s and word processing software for all but the nostalgic at heart. However PC keyboards still have the “qwertyuiop” layout in the key design. Why would that be? The only real answer is pure habit. It is what we are used to.
Don’t you think there should be a keyboard design layout that optimizes the speed in which we could type? Why has no one built a keyboard design that has the keys laid out according to a maximum speed rule? The excuse might be, “We would have to change the way we teach typing school,” or “People would have to learn to type all over again.” Well maybe, but since most of us type in a non-standard pecking kind of way anyhow, would it really matter? Why not offer this new keyboard as an option for those who want to type faster?
The keyboard layout is a great example of where the accepted rules and concepts should be challenged. The original design rules for the typewriter simply do not apply to a PC. I am still surprised none of the PC manufacturers have tried to break the mold on this one.
Another good example is the shape of our cups, glasses, and plates. Why are they round? We all expect them to be round instead of square or maybe even some polygon shape, but why?
When they were first created, there was a good reason for them to be round. It was the only way we knew of to make such a thing. Dishes, cups, and glasses were all made of clay and got their shape from being spun on a pottery wheel. Today you would be hard pressed to find any kitchen china that has actually been built on a pottery wheel. All of the plastic cups and glasses are injection molded or use some other high speed manufacturing process. But they are still round.
I’ll admit if you look real hard you can find glasses and plates these days that are square or rectangular shaped, but they are few and far between. I think that china being round has a lot in common with the PC/typewriter story. They are still being driven by rules that no longer have any application.
Lets look at another area where someone finally decided to challenge the rules – basketball and football.
When basketball was first invented, it had some strange rules. After each goal scored, the players had to stop and have a jump ball in the center of the court. Obviously this slowed the game way down after each score. Someone challenged the rule and asked, “Wouldn’t the game go faster and be more exciting if the other team just got the ball after the score?”
The same thing happened in football. When football was first invented, only running was allowed in the game, not passing. Again someone challenged the current rules in the hopes of making the sport better. Can you image the Super Bowl today without any passing?
These are some simple examples in our history where someone was brave enough to challenge the rules. Our history as human beings consists of thousands of examples where people have challenged the rules. We all know that people used to believe the world was flat and that the planets and the sun revolved around the earth.
We all know how absurd that belief is today, but Galileo was put to house arrest for the remainder of his life for publishing a paper that suggested such a crazy thing. What about Einstein’s theory of relativity? History is littered with tons of monumental examples.
Many people in history (of less stature than Galileo) have been killed for challenging the rules. You could write a book on the different religious beliefs of the people of the world, but I won’t attempt to go there. It would take a library of discussion.
The good news is you can challenge the rules today without the risk of death or house arrest. And your suggestions and ideas don’t have to be as monumental or earth shattering as the theory of relativity. You still can’t get away with murder, but in today’s business environment we are certainly encouraged to suggest new concepts and ways of doing things. At least most organizations practice this. If yours doesn’t, then take the lead with the creative thinking tools you learn in this book to make some changes in your company.