Don’t worry, this isn’t a try at some deep definition of innovation where I wax philosophical for thirty paragraphs. There have just been a few items over the past few days that made me think a little differently about innovation.
- Seeing new uses for what already exists: Watch the amazing video below, “Inspired Bicycles” – it features Danny MacAskill riding his bike all over Edinburgh, doing tricks. I saw it a few months ago, but when I saw it again this week, I realized the unique vision that bikers/skateboarders have of the world. Walkways, trees…these things are different to them than they are to me- they represent a canvas on which the athlete is free to innovate on. I have looked at streets very differently this past week, considering the angles and physics of them.
- Taking something further, to a new purpose: I used ChatRoulette for the first time today. It’s a website you go to to speak with strangers from across the world through live audio/video. You go to the site, click play, and you are linked with a random person through your computer camera and microphone. It gets pretty crude, as the class of people on their ain’t great, but it is a new iteration of social networking that uses the internet to immediately replicate meeting someone at random in a bar…only they’re halfway across the world. It uses simple existing technology, combined with a new idea…and is very different than what’s out there. (Note: It feels really weird to be on this site; although it’s people who choose to be on there, it still feels like some kind of weird spying.)
- Finding a different or new way: The fiancée and I were walking around Charlottesville last Saturday, and stopped into a nice looking store on the downtown mall. She spotted a pretty designer chair and we checked out the price – a shocking $2,400 for what looked like a child’s easy chair with a colorful quilt woven on. Now, we both liked the style, but we don’t have that kinda money. Knowing that she’s an artist, however, and that I can occasionally figure out how to use a tool, I suggested we look into doing it ourselves – within a day she found a way for us to do that. This is probably the most common innovation of them all- finding a different or new way to what we want.
All in all, a lot of different thoughts this week!