Unanticipated Collisions

How we create the new from Dancing About Architecture.

We create the new not generally through some mad moment of inspiration in fictionalised accounts of ancient Greeks in baths (though the conditions for this can be forced into existence), but by putting things together that do not normally go together; from taking disciplines (or curriculum areas) and seeing what happens when they are forced into unanticipated collision.

Webb Young’s A Technique for Producing Ideas suggests that to create a new idea of value you merely take two disciplines that do not appear to belong together and force them through a blender, because ‘an idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements’,10 and that a person with a propensity to produce ideas will be someone who sees the relationship between things; relationships that are not necessarily obvious on first sight.

The mind, at its best, is a pattern-making machine, engaged in a perpetual attempt to impose order on to chaos; making links between disparate entities or ideas in order to better understand either or both. It is the ability to spot the potential in the product of connecting things that don’t ordinarily go together that marks out the person (or teacher) who is truly creative.