Sunday, August 16, 2009

Channeling My Annoyance

In Dan Pinks book A Whole New Mind he describes how to continue to flourish in the coming age we must learn to be R-directed thinkers as well as L-directed thinkers. This means we must learn to use the right side of our brain along with the left side of our brain.

Broken into six categories, Pink describes these R-directed skills: design, story, symphony, empathy, meaning and play. Each chapter is about one of these skills. At the end of each chapter Pink gives many activities to work the right side of the brain. The one labeled as Channel Your Annoyance Ch caught my eye because I happen to like coffee.

1. Choose a household item that annoys you in any way.
2. Go by yourself to a cafe with pen and paper, but without a book and without a newspaper, and, for the duration of your cup of coffee, think about improving the poorly designed item.
3. Send the idea/sketch as it is to the manufacturer of your annoying household item.

I went to Morning Side coffee a couple of days later to try this out. I was eating a Tootsie-Pop previous to my trip so I decided to redesign the common sucker.

I wondered what would happen if a small child accidentally swallowed this sucker. He/she would inevitable suffocate. I decided to think of a way to prevent suffocation is such a travesty did happen.

I bought a sandwich with my coffee because I was hungry. It was a turkey and cheese sandwich, but it had swiss cheese on it. That made me think...what if the sucker had holes going all the way through like this cheese. Then if a child swallowed it it would not obstruct the air so he/she would be able to breath. Then the sucker would eventually just dissolve or it could then be removed.

This was my R-directed thinking talking through the design. With a little bit of help from my turkey sandwich. Although it sounds far-fetched to me there may be something behind Pink's thinking with this R-directed thinking.