Monday, October 17, 2005

Accidents.

Had to sit through a new employee orientation video on workplace safety... very hilarious stuff. You could tell it was created during the era of "Tootsie" and when you could still light up a cigarette in your office. I imagine they didn't bother remaking it because it must have cost them a fortune to pay for all the stunt actors used in the case example. Then again it was pretty popular. This thing made The Three Stooges look like a precision Nascar pit crew...

The video demonstrated some of the more common workplace accidents - from standing on a swivel chair so you can change a light bulb to accidentally stabbing your hand with pencils because they were put in he container upside down. It also showed how filing cabinets are the worst things in the world for office traffic. In addition, it talked about the accidents that occur from things that you wouldn't expect or that were not blatently visible - torn carpet that might be a tripping hazard, office hallways with blindspots.

So, after all the chuckles died down and the real boring bits of the training kicked in I began to wonder about accidents that lead to good things... Trivial things that are done in the moment of experiment that are complete accidents but turn out to influence an idea, dictate its outcome and/or provide the best end user experience. How do artists use intentional accidents (often a series of accidents) to find ideas in the accidents that are impossible to develop by force of will? I guess the best aproach would be to have fun, get joy from what you do, experiment and let accidents inspire creativity... although this approach is the most difficult for the majority of straight-laced, business executives that seem to want to micromanage any process.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
--Scott Raymond Adams (it's the that dude that made Dilbert)

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