Creative + Co-Pilot

What I've Learned From Teaching as an Adjunct Professor This Year

Make a Mess. Think Like Children.


I was standing on the newly polished hardwood in the  living room of the house my lady and I will be trying to make a home (at least for a year lease). Light shown through the large central window, my nephew Max was looking through it into the street. He shuffled a miniature red Ford Focus and a mid-late 50s Chevrolet back and forth along the window sill. I asked him if I could play too, he complied and I began to fish tail the Focus sideways along the trim of the window into the big-body Chevy. Upon impact, I simulated this car taking a huge fall from the window sill to the deep depths of the flooring. But before gravity could take hold, Max grabs the car and drives it vertically up and down the wall. He defies all laws of physics and logic, racing it up and down. He has no constraints or preconceived ideas of what should or shouldn't happen.

At that moment, the true power of his imagination revealed itself to me.

Don't limit yourself to just black and white solutions. When brainstorming or critically trying to solve design-problems, don't throw out the outrageous idea. Crazy ideas aren't crazy if you work through them and bring them to fruition. This frame of mind also encourages playfulness and fun in your office setting...and everyone knows we could all use a little bit more of that! Be childlike, scribble on the walls, make a mess and don't limit yourself to just "what's possible."

Stephen Jones