Thought Bites August 2016

This riveting photograph by Shawn Miller​ shows a local hermit crab upcycling ocean plastic in a terrific example of Thinking Backwards. Just like turning waste plastic into building blocks or building panels, or the tiny repurposed homes of the Dumpster Project​, Miller's hermit mates are innovatively redefining "rubbish", "disposable" and "home". 


A key factor in this kind of extreme innovation is a robust disregard for failure.  You know the one!   These crabs are a reminder to promote psychological safety​ in all aspects of your life so that you think nothing of appropriating an entirely new component into your thinking and doing and making it your own.

This month I have included aspects of viewing problems and opportunities from unexpected angles as well as a couple of Adventurous Thinking case studies.  As always - all feedback welcome!

Sally Dominguez

Innovation Catalyst, Adventurous Thinker & Multifarian

THINKING BACKWARDS: read about the adaptions made by the hermit crabs of Okinawa

Negative Space: Proxemics


Proxemics is the study of personal boundaries and how space between humans affects behavior, communication and social interaction.  Reading body language is just one aspect of Proxemics, and according o UCLA Prof.Albert Mehrabian, 55% of the message you convey comes from your body language.  Imagine then the benefit in understanding the nuances of Intimate, Personal, Social and Public space and what that means in different cultures, age groups ​and genders!  Use Proxemics to optimize all aspects of Negative Space and check the infographic below for insight on how your subjects might prefer their interactions to play out.

View a detailed infographic on Proxemics here

Thinking Sideways

Ah Millennials!  Often described as the selfie generation, psychologist Karla Ivanovich suggests that "This generation has been encouraged to be in touch with their emotional intelligence more than any other in the past, yet they're also the most individually and egocentrically-driven generation ever,"  Prof. Selterman of U.Marylands Psychology Dept has run an experiment on his students since 2008.  Check out this video to see how the "go big or go home" mentality he attributes to his students affects community and collaboration.  Hint: only one class has ever gotten their extra credit.  


The challenge demonstrates an economic theory called "the tragedy of the commons" where self interested individuals acting independently neglect the common good in pursuit of personal gain.  How would your workplace team respond?  



If you spend your work time whipping up exotic, money's-no-object supercars, what do you dream about?  How about a brilliantly robust and utilitarian flat pack timber truck?  Gordon Murray designed the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes SLR McLaren but his work for philanthropist Sir Torquil Norman may be his lasting legacy.

Read more on OX here

The OX can be assembled by 3 people in 12 hours with 40 spanners and a wrench.  It's 2-wheel drivetrain can climb rough terrain and it carries almost three times the load of a normal pickup truck. According to Sir Norman only 20% of the world's population has access to motorized vehicles.  OX can significantly change that number.


Often when I am planning single day Corporate workshops my contacts within the organization rule out Parkour early, suggesting that other Five Ways tools have more tangible benefits to the company than the concept of disrupting the norm.  It is true that disruption is usually associated with the speed and flexibility of a startup so I was excited to find this recent article in Forbes, which also paraphrases from John Camillus's book Wicked Strategies, suggesting how disruptive thinking can add competitive advantage and economic value to businesses of all sizes.

Read the Forbes article here

Finally - because this month is low on product case studies - check out Food Ink' the London (for now) pop up 3D printed food restaurant with food designed by Michelin-starred European chefs.  Using cartridges of past-based ingredients like chocolate mousse, pea, humus and cheeses the printer layers the ingredients and they are then baked or otherwise finished. In a holistic touch, most of the restaurant interior including lamps, chairs and utensils will also be 3D printed.