frog: Do Small Rebellions Increase Our Creativity?

frog: Do Small Rebellions Increase Our Creativity?

How going against the grain, even in small ways, can help stimulate our mind to reach new creative heights.

  • 12 april 2012

I walked a Formula One race track last fall in Abu Dhabi, in the blistering evening desert heat. The city of Abu Dhabi opens the track a couple of days a week for bikers and joggers. I, however, was walking, due to a lack of appropriate sportswear, gasping for air, and happy to make it through even just one round. It was a surreal experience, not only because I was the odd outlier amidst hundreds of bikers and joggers, but also because it turned the purpose of the race track on its head – as my own private ‘slow movement’ against the race of the machines, fundamentally opposing the design intent of the venue. It felt like a meditation that turned the split seconds which typically frame the Formula One drivers’ quasi-automated blink decisions into an extended once-in-a-lifetime moment.

It took me an hour to complete the lap, and I relished every single minute of it. ‘Going against the grain,’ walking a Formula One track, turned out to be a fitting mental model violation, an almost situationist rebellion against time and space, and therefore a meaningful experience, a trance-like crescendo of happiness.

Speed, like happiness, is relative. Motion, on the other hand, is happiness’ absolute requirement. Motion is what holds it all together. Nations, cultures, organizations, relationships – and bodies. As the wonderful book of the same title suggests, the heart – the quintessential mechanism of motion – is a Sublime Engine, the enabler and ultimate jury of all life: it can stop anytime, for no rhyme or reason, and when it does, there is no more moving on.

It remains a mystery at what point motion becomes speed; perhaps when it exceeds the perceptional comprehension of the human sensory apparatus, when it becomes too fast to be felt, to be made sense of.

A couple of months later, on board an 800 miles per hour sky-rocketing 747 aircraft over the Atlantic, I was watching the documentary, Senna, about the legendary Brazilian Formula One race driver Ayrton Senna. True to its subject, the movie never slows down, and instead of a voice-over narrating the driver’s moved life, it simply races from frame to frame while slowly uncovering the essence of the story: the heart and soul of a passionate genius, a ‘man on a wire,’ full of concentration and determination, and of a fervent passion that’s always on the verge to its dark side, obsession. The devoted Christian Senna was a fanatic who raced to stand still and “just couldn’t quit” until he, as he put it, became a “complete man,” in perfect tune with God; a soul-searcher who touched those close and far from him with his humble but assertive heart that was beating so much faster than most others.

The documentary shows the last moments of Senna’s life, viewed from his car’s onboard camera, the painful elegy of a life that is about to pass every second (generally as professional risk and literally in this very sequence), a slow-motion blues that ends with an abrupt and absurd accident when Senna’s car fails (the exact reasons are unresolved to date) and crashes like a projectile straight into a wall. His death was as fast as his life.

Senna was a one-of-a-kind rebel, and he epitomizes the allure of the contrarian way of doing things your way: walk when others run, stay silent when others talk, be absent when others pursue presence by all means, disappear when others enter. Maybe that’s the ultimate differentiator in our fast-moving, over-loaded, hyper-charged, and ultra-saturated markets, for brands, companies, organizations, and leaders alike: to determine that it’s game over before it has even begun. Reclusiveness as the ultimate exclusivity. And maybe that is the very difference between being smart and being wise: Smart organizations and leaders are highly adaptive and thrive on constant feedback. Smart is fast. But wise is slow. Wise organizations and leaders need time and take it. Time for pause, for reflection. Time for not doing anything. Time to be quiet. Time to find the signal amid all the noise. Time to be the signal.

From Linda Stone’s “continuous partial attention” to FOMO (the Fear-of-Missing-Out) to Jonathan Harris’ long-form storytelling that propagates a “deeper, more reciprocal means of communication than shouting into a disconnected social media void,” from Speed-Dating to Slow-Dating, the Slow Books Manifesto, the Slow Food MovementSlow DesignSlow TravelSlow MoneySlow Living, Slow Brands. Motion may enable happiness, speed may accelerate it, but it is the counter-movement that grants us significance – and that, at the end, is the difference between a meaningful life and a life lived in vain.

[image credit: Forbes]

(Read original post here.)

[Written by Tim LeberechtReprinted with kind permission from design mind, a publication of global innovation firm frog.]

Design Mind is a publication of global innovation firm frog that is updated daily to keep the design and innovation community updated with fresh perspectives on industry trends, emerging technologies, and global consumer culture. Learn more about design mind and frog.


PSFK's Workplace Vision: Leave The Busywork To The Bots

Syndicated Today

In Popular Games, The Recurring Theme Is Exploration

The much-hyped sci-fi sandbox game proved to be as massive as expected, while Pokémon Go continued to prove inescapable

Design Today

The Best In Wearable Tech From The Rio Olympics

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best gadgets and devices used to track performance


Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Advertising Today

This Cookbook Is Inspired By Brad Pitt’s On-Screen Eating Habits

Learn how to whip up meals and snacks pulled straight from the actor's fictional universe

USA Today

Tour The US National Parks From The Comfort Of Your Home

Google's new 360-degree video feature lets people take a trip to Alaska, Utah or Hawaii and see these marvels of nature up close


Ryan Closner

Renaissance Software Engineer

Augmented & Virtual Reality Today

VR Training For Active Shooter Preparedness

SurviVR is an immersive environment to teach civilians how to protect themselves in dangerous situations

Cities Today

Redesigned London Tube Map Aims To Get People Walking

The updated display illustrates approximately how many steps it takes to walk between stations for a healthier commute

Experiential Marketing Today

Nike Creates An Immersive Pop-Up Fitness Experience In London

The Unlimited You space gave athletes a chance to push their limits farther than ever before


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs Today

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Automotive Today

Uber Now Lets Commuters Pay With Pretax Dollars

The prepaid cards are a partnership with WageWorks, letting uberPool users save up to 40% on their trip

Home Today

Philips Hue Adds Motion Sensor To Control Lights Automatically

The wireless device lets users interact with their environment without needing to press a switch

Home Today

Beacon Device Takes The Pain Out Of Navigating A New Airbnb

Ping provides new guests with a guided tour of the house or apartment through a simple tap of their phone

Arts & Culture Today

Shelf Makes Its Contents Appear To Hover In Midair

The design uses metal tubes to create an optical illusion when viewed from the front

Arts & Culture Today

Interactive Ceiling Responds To People Walking Underneath

The installation features built-in sensors that cause the undulating surface to morph and react to passersby


Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games

Fashion Today

Declutter And Recycle All Of Your Unwanted Stuff

A new app will help catalogue your possessions and give them away as donations when you no longer want them

Advertising Today

Tokyo Concept Store Disguised As A Parking Garage

The retail and cafe project is designed as a hidden treasure for urban explorers

No search results found.