Or maybe

I’m with a friend, in a bar. We’re sloppily sitting on an old couch. In front of us, a big empty freezer, one of those that you open from the top.

Me: – What is this freezer doing here?

My friend: – No idea. Maybe they used to need it, but now they don’t?

- Maybe. But why keep it, then?

- I don’t know. Maybe they have a plan for it. Like… I don’t know… use it a giant flower pot?

- Or maybe… this bar is owned by a big believer in cryogenic freezing, and this is his first piece of equipment?

- Or maybe… they’re running a social experiment, counting how many days will pass before a customer makes a comment about it?

- Or maybe… (seeing a lock hanging on the door) they want to create a solo-experience escape game, where you’re stuck in a freezer and the lock combination is in the head of the most drunk person in the bar?

- Or maybe… (discovering the freezer has 4 wheels) they’re planning to learn bobsleigh and think it’s a good, cheap piece of equipment to start with?

(…)

The conversation went on for an hour. One thought at a time, we tried to associate this object with as many ideas as possible. We didn’t plan this conversation, nor did we ever talk about it after. It was just an improvised, fun way to spend an hour together, in a bar.

(…)

This anecdote came back to me yesterday, as I was listening to an interview of Ken Robinson. The interview, Chris Anderson, was wondering what knowledge was left to be taught when all information is available in a second through internet.

In the conversation with my friend, you could focus on the creative process, in which two unrelated ideas are connected together to create a third one. However, that would be overlooking the other process at stake: the previous accumulation of knowledge. Understanding the concepts of flower pot, cryogenic freezing, social experiment, escape game or bobsleigh wouldn’t be qualified as creativity. Yet, in this example, it is the foundation of it. Without it, there is nothing to connect. You can look on internet for « what is an escape game? », but you can’t (yet?) look for « what would be an original way to associate a freezer with? ».


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