This Tuesday, Joseph King and I were invited to speak at 4Culture’s Annual Open House. 4Culture is the cultural services agency for King County and has been a client of ours this past year through a unique project where we were awarded a percent-for-art grant to build a mobile game that celebrated the launch of Metro’s RapidRide B-Line. Last year, B Line Pulse was developed and designed by our firm to demonstrate artistry and innovation in mobile gaming.
“Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation.” - Mark Twain
Through a fast-paced, 20 seconds-per-slide format, we demonstrated that most often true innovation occurs when unconnected thoughts and perspectives collide. We investigated numerous examples that pair such seemingly different topics from war and art to play and survival.
Recent examples include how online gamers are solving genetic puzzles that have taken scientists years to solve; how artists are solving disarmament of landmines with wind-powered sculptures, and how playground equipment was combined with a traditional well to pump water simply by kids spinning a merry-go-round.
What we’ve come to understand is that the connection between unexpected pairings and innovation isn’t really that “unexpected.” The outsider is a vital catalyst for change and innovation. It’s why you hear terms like “out-of-the-box” thinking in corporate boardrooms. The seductive pull of the unfamiliar is, well, familiar.