I used to work in marketing for a bedding company and our challenge was to invent a new bed.
That’s like reinventing the wheel you might say. Well, it kind of was.
In order to get some creative help, we went and found Hans Zaugg who used to run a design school in Switzerland.
Zaugg has been involved in products and brands such as Swatch, Artemide, Ikea…
When I first met this guy, my job was to translate, as he only spoke German (well, Schwitzerdeutsch – Swiss German actually).
In the beginning I thought he was weird – but that was just young me comparing him to anyone I had known before – and he did not fit into any drawer.
The more I got to know him and his ideas though, the more I came to see him as the guru of innovation he was.
And it felt oddly familiar.
When I first visited the design school, located in a tiny village in Switzerland, I was amazed (this was back in the early 90ies). Big open spaces, lots of colors, all sorts of different chairs, sofa and lounge area. It was definitely a working area that inspired me as well as the odd collection of people working there.
Thinking back, this was probably my first meeting with a non-linear guy. Come to think of it, the real first one was my Dad!
Non-linear thinking is thinking along unconventional, atypical lines or in a non-sequential manner. In non-linear thinking, people make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. Non-linear thinkers draw conclusions and develop ideas, solutions, and innovations from experience gained in a variety of different fields. And they are more likely to innovate in surprising and world-changing ways. (source)
Marelisa Fabrega has written a book called ‘How to be more creative – a handbook for alchemists’ in which she points to IDEO, an innovation and design firm that uses a human-centered, design-based approach to help organisations innovate.
Awhile back ABC News Nightline posed the following challenge to IDEO: in order to see how the process of developing a better product works, IDEO was given five days to completely redesign the familiar shopping cart. Talk about reinveting the wheel – that story threw me right back into the early 90ies 🙂
Watch the ABC News Nightline Special on YouTube
No chaired meetings in suits. No powerpoints and charts. Quantity of ideas over quality. No criticizing other’s ideas. The crazier the better. Build on other’s ideas. Focused chaos.
There are so many good ideas to catch here to bring creativity and fun (back) to our workplaces.
Why am I mentioning all this? Because the workplace and the world needs more non-linear people.
And now they have a movement.
My friend Perry has started the movement as a home for non-linear people (but not only) and although I’ve been part of it for only a while now, it feels like home.
It is like finding your tribe.
So if you’re a little weird, creative, been named unconventional or weird etc. this group is for you. Please join us!