Barriers to innovative thinking
• "If it ain't broke don't fix it."
• "That's not how we did it last year."
• "It was good enough for my parents, it's good enough for me."
Conduits to better thinking
• Strive to make things better.
• Never leave well enough alone.
• Nothing is set in stone.
• There's always a better way.
According to the StrengthsFinder test, (more info) Jim Watson's number 1 strength is Ideation - a fascination with and propensity for coming up with new ideas.
Here are the contents of some of Jim's great ideas. Below are other miscellaneous ideas.
Big Chief tablet cover/case
The cover would make a great case flap for an iPad or other etablet. Included - the Big Chief notepaper app:
Briefcase with retractable shoulder strap
It is common to use a shoulder strapped bag, but there are many instances when the case is carried like a briefcase. A case whose strap retracted into the case would simplify use and be more convenient and stylish. 2006
Christmas lights for a dog
Sew a battery-powered string of lights into a pet sweater - moving Christmas decorations. 1996
Cup holders on vacuum cleaners
This would encourage more men to help with household chores as they could keep their beer handy. The holder should be the kind that is used on boats - that swivel in all directions so the beer won't spill. 2006
Fitness and jogging tape
Strong beat and rhythm to motivate endurance running (I now do this with an iPod). 1980s
While remodeling a house in Edmond, OK, Jim implemented numerous innovations. 1995-2000
• Mailbox hidden behind garage panel door to minimize clutter and tackiness of store-bought mailboxes
• Clock face of kitsch items; sink with no visible pipes underneath to minimize pipe chaos
• Wheeled closet unit
• Lights on the closet and bathroom wall (rather than on the ceiling) to light the contents and the face rather than lighting the top of the shelves or the top of the head.
• Headboard lite switch
• Lamps in headboard
Hotel housekeeping cart
A cart that is narrow to fit into rooms, unobtrusive while in hallway, decorated to match hotel decor, and tall to hold more. 1995
Hotels in Las Vegas
Improvements including double deck drives - one for arrivals, one for taxi & valet pickup (as Mandalay Bay did later) and sidewalks over the entrance drives (Aladdin) to separate pedestrians and vehicles. 1996
Ice chest in a washing machine
It may be weird, but it holds lots of ice and drinks, and cleanup is easy - the ice melts when you run a wash cycle. It is fun to tell guests to go get their drinks out of the washing machine. 2000
Just to inspire contagious laughter and better health. 1980s
Self photo morphs
Send in photo with what changes you want (less fat, darker hair, more muscles) & photo is manipulated to reflect that and returned in variety of sizes (frameable, wallet) for motivation and goalspirations. 1994
Soon after ranch dressing was introduced I mixed it with an equal part of Tex-Mex salsa - delicious. 1980s
Sensory Input Machine
Creative people rely on perceptions in their brain as resources for creative problem solving. These perceptions come from one's imagination creating new stored images from actual images previously experienced. Actual images are recorded from numerous sources, including travel, television, magazines, and movies. If the variety of experiences increases - the creative source file is increased. This can be an expensive and time consuming process and limited by one's environment and ability to travel and purchase media.
Can this period of experiencing images be condensed in time and broadened in scope? Could images of artwork, architecture, graphics, interiors, products, and environments be compiled and shown to one at a high rate of speed - long enough for the image to register within the subconscious? Like programming a computer, can a machine help program a viewer? Can the brain perceive 2-D images from a machine as if actually experienced? Will the images register as experiential memory? How fast can the brain process an image? Can the viewer control the speed of projections? Can the images be organized by keywords? 1980s
Stop signs made better
Go on red after stop - we waste much time and gas idling/sitting at a red light while no one else is at the intersection. Maybe we should just go - like at a stop sign. Yield to traffic with the green light, then, if clear, go ahead and cross the intersection (I came up with this notion long before people had cell phones in their cars and became less attentive drivers); Change all stop signs to Yield: a complete stop is often unnecessary, wasting gas, car maintenance, and time. 1978
Subway cars with themed interiors
To make a positive impact on the riders' experience; fun car interiors might provide a conversation starter, help remind riders that life is not to be taken too seriously, and help to brighten the outlook for urban commuters. There could even be product tie-ins to pay for the remodelation and provide extra income. 2005. Some options:
Sports: Yankees, Mets, Giants, US Open, etc.
Art Deco: rich details, pastel colors
Manhattan kitsch souvenir touristy stuff
Disco: music, mirror ball, 80s colors
Jungle: foliage print walls; leopard, tiger prints, jungle sounds
English library: Hunter green walls, walnut veneer, faux leather seats
French Rococo drawing room - might be fun to see urban hip-hop fashions in such a room
Space: Alien and Star Wars/Star Trek style materials and appliances
Every so often, on Interstate highways, there could be a long single lane with concrete walls (above) with large rubber rollers mounted on each side. A driver could get into this lane, let go of the steering wheel, and have both hands free for texting. This idea doesn't solve the problem of ramming the car in front, however. 2008
NYTimes One Page
New spellings: Wensday Febuary restraunt probly