When I read this paper, it reminded me of my own experiences (inspiring moments) and about Philippe Starck’s Squid lemon squeezer. Starck was of the opinion that it was his gift (my understanding of him, maybe not his words), but now that I have read this paper, it makes sense why he made those connections.

For all the fellow IDPers this was one of the first things we learned about the design process, Constrain your design. If we really think about what happened to Starck, I propose that the combination of Calamari, lemon and thinking about making a tray constrained his problem space. He started to see the connections and came up with his sketches.

Creative density means space for odd, surprising, or useless objects in the studio and the chance to find something unexpected in surprising or interesting combinations of those objects.

This is a classic example of constraining a design process. For example, yesterday I was trying to come up with an idea for still life photography for meaning and form. My topic was Propaganda and politics. I was drawing a blank until I saw the duplo animal figures lying about in the studio. By constraining my problem space down to Politics and animal figures….the idea became obvious; a still life on Animal Farm. Now this is not a case of talent or pure inspiration. It is the power of constraints.

The ability to see connections between different things can only take place when you have different things to connect. I think is what brute force thinking is all about. The people who say are being inspired by everyday things in my mind is essentially connecting themes together and synthesizing because of constraints. It is probably why I have such a hard time writing papers, because I almost never have examples to contraint my thoughts. Lesson learned!