Articles by Paul Wagorn

Paul Wagorn is the President of IdeaConnection, a leading Open Innovation Intermediary.

Sometimes a picture needs almost no explanation:

The clothespin-hanger

The clothespin-hanger

This great idea solves the problem of how to dry all the clothes in the laundry at once, and also helps rid laundry of clothespin marks.  I would imagine that these clotespin-hangers would also double as regular hangers once the clothes are dry.

The sheer simplicity of these hangers is what impresses me most about these innovative and creative hangers.

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This is to be filed in the “why didn’t I think of that?” folder. Sometimes an idea doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or difficult understand to be creative and useful.

The picture says it all: Read the rest of this entry »

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swinxs 1Sometimes innovation comes from completely discarding most everything about an idea that defines it.  One of the major complaints about videos games for kids is that they keep kids indoors, staring at a computer screen or television when they could should be outside playing and getting some exercise.

Playing video games makes us forget how fun it is to actually play outdoors with friends - Why not get rid of the television?  Why not take the gaming console outside? Read the rest of this entry »

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The Japanese are an innovative bunch. Everything from cellphones to cars and TV’s have benefited from the Japanese pass time of making products better more interesting.

The latest device coming from Japan is a terminal that gets attached to toilets made by the toilet giant Imax. It analyzes your stool and gives you an instant health report to your cell phone.  Japanese toilets have always been a few steps ahead of the west, but this product even takes thinks a step further. Read the rest of this entry »

Pablo Picasso - Self Portrait

Pablo Picasso - Self Portrait

When I was a child, a doctor once told me that he suspected that I might have attention deficit disorder – ADD (or ADHD as it’s now called).  He went on to say “..but, only a touch of it.  Basically enough to make you creative”. I suspect that he was joking at the time, but it always made me wonder.

I was reminded of this recently when I dug up a report based on research by Professor Arnold Ludwig of the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Ludwig studied over 1000 “original thinkers” in a wide array of professions – art, music, business, science, politics and sports. In his research spannig close to 10 years, he studied these people’s mental fitness, their chosen professions and the releationships between their mental health and career selection. What he found was interesting: Crazy people have jobs that rely on creativity.

The results from his study (“Method and Madness in the Arts and Sciences”) showed that:

  • 9 out of 10 poets studied had diagnosable mental disorders (!)
  • 77% of fiction writers had mental disorders
  • 74% of theater people
  • 73% of painters and other visual artists
  • 68% of musicians (which I think is dead accurate based on my own experience of being in bands!)

This is compared to 18 to 29% for sports, scientists and business people.

Many studies have shown higher rates of depression in creative people as well (how depressing!).

So, the question that begs to be asked is what is the causative relationship? Are creative people crazy, or are crazy people creative?  Dr. Ludwig says:

“Mental illness is not the price people pay for their creative gifts… creative people who are mentally ill find themselves, almost by default, in the arts rather than in business or the other sciences.”

Ok, so being creative doesn’t make us crazy…  Whew, we dodged that bullet. What this does mean, however, is that we may have to deal with more off-kilter-ness from our co-workers and professional relationships if we work in a creative field.

Tell us what you think – do you agree with Dr. Ludwig’s findings, or do you just think he’s crazy being creative?

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Sometimes it’s easy to get caught within the bounds of where an accepted solution “should” come from.  We need to look a the tools that we are given,  and get creative not just with the solution, but with the tools themselves.

The following concerns a question in a physics degree exam at the University of Copenhagen.  The story goes like this: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sometimes someone comes up with something that makes everyone else think “Why didn’t I think of that ?”

Have you ever outpaced cars and been honked at? Had a car almost wipe you out while making a turn? Do you ever ride your bike so fast that you wish that everyone else could know how close to the speed of light you were? Or sometimes are you riding your bike, cars honking impatiently behind you, wishing that they knew you were actually going more than 10 mph? Or maybe you just want to show off to your buddies that you left in your dust!

Enter… the speed vest! Read the rest of this entry »

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Sometimes the ideas that initially sound the most absurd are the most brilliant ones. Suppose for a moment that someone told you that they were going design a camera for blind people. Well, a design team at Samsung has done just that.

My first thought was “Why?” … My second thought was “ok, but…How?” Read the rest of this entry »

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