Thinking Outside the Box
In Philadelphia, nearly everyone reads the Philadelphia Inquirer. Yesterday, I noticed an article about a new backpack that can harness the bounce in your step to power a cell phone or GPS tracking device. As an AT sectional hiker, this backpack had a certain amount of appeal to me.
The US Navy hired a professor who specializes in the movement of fish and frogs. The professor thought that the Navy was interested in improving the movement of submarines. The Navy was interested in harnessing foot power. This backpack not only generates electricity, it may in fact be a better backpack but no one designing a better backpack would allow it to move up and down while the person is hiking.
One of my neighbors developed the concept of cross-training military combat units. His unit had one of the highest survival rates among combat units during World War II. The German command blamed “the damned engineers” commanded by my neighbor as the reason for their failure during the Battle of the Bulge.
Both the professor and the engineer developed their new ideas outside their area of expertise because they were not burdened by the established teachings of the field. They developed new ideas because they both had the ability to think outside the box.
Someone once said that inspiration was 98% perspiration. However, I think that cross-training and eclectic reading are also important factors. Thinking outside the box is also 98% exasperation and may even be heresy.