Today I was inspired by a recent article on Forbes online…called 'Are You Making the Right Connections?". It got me thinking about how we strategize internally at LB and some of the things we discuss on a regular basis about ensuring we remain creative and inspired so that we deliver amazing experiences for our clients.
Holly Green is the contributing author and I found her angle interesting: 'What do Velcro, barbed wire, and chainsaws have in common? They were all patterned after structures found in nature.'
I would also argue these ideas were developed out of constraints and the need to solve a problem. Looking at something familiar and applying in a different way.
Here are her three great examples of innovation inspired by nature:
1. 'Velcro was invented in 1941 by Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral. After returning home from a hunting trip, he noticed a large amount of cockleburs stuck to his clothes and his dog's fur. Out of curiosity, he stuck a few under a microscope and saw that each bur consisted of hundreds of little hooks that caught on anything with a loop, such as clothing or animal fur. He surmised that if he could duplicate the hooks and loops with other materials, he could bind them together in a similar fashion.'
2. 'When ranchers first began raising cattle on the wide-open plains, they used the Osage orange as fencing material. But the thorny bush took a lot of time and effort to transplant and grow. Eventually, someone hit on the idea of fashioning wire fences patterned after the Osage's sharp thorns. This innovation made it affordable to fence vast areas of land, and led to the practice of animal husbandry on a much larger scale.'
3. 'Nature also provided the inspiration for the modern chainsaw. In 1946, a man chopping wood in Oregon noticed several timber beetle larvae chewing through the logs around him. A short while later, he developed a chain with interlocking links that mimicked the chewing action of their teeth. This led to the development of the first chainsaw that could cut with, or against, the grain of the wood.'
As Green points out, 'Original ideas come from recognizing new connections between familiar things and transforming them into something new. So the next time you see a pattern ' whether it comes from a beetle grub chewing through a log, or the pile of junk mail sitting on your countertop ' pause for a moment and ask yourself, 'How can I relate this to something I already know well?' You'll be amazed at what you can come up with!
We believe in balancing innovation and experience as we embark on this journey with our clients. We are often inspired by physical offline objects that might lead to design inspiration for an interactive engagement and ultimately create an amazing user experience in the online world. We like to believe the greatest creativity sometimes comes from constraints that are bookended with limitless possibility.
Look around you. You never know what might become your muse for creative inspiration.
Photo courtesy of swurl.com.au