Inspiration takes many forms. Sometimes it’s easy to connect the dots, like the beauty that Claude Monet found in his first wife, Camille; Or like Eric Clapton’s desire for Pattie Boyd (who was George Harrison’s wife at the time) helping old Slowhand convey his emotions in the classic Layla. Often there’s a practical approach: “here’s the problem, let’s find a solution”, like Joseph Salk and the world changing polio vaccine. Upon occasion, discovery and inspiration are the product of crossing paths of seemingly random forces, as the folks at Reese’s can surely attest.
It’s fair to say that my brief interaction with Steve McGranahan (@wsredneck) on Twitter today is an accidental inspiration, and not the workings of the muse of the lovelorn artist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that Steve’s a great dude, but honestly, I couldn’t paint my way out of kindergarten. However, in less than 140 characters, Steve’s brilliant insight into the human condition pushed my little red wagon of thinkin’ down the biggest hill in town. Here’s a recap from Twitter:
When Steve commented on the pothole situation in Ohio, suggesting that the state might want to highlight the road breaks to assist motorists, I thought about our own road conditions in and around Edmonton, and what that might look like. I came to the conclusion that the whole road might look yellow, or blue, or red, or green, or whatever colour the City chooses to fix the potholes with.
This is stream of consciousness problem solving at it’s best.
Twister. Ah ha!!! Don’t pick just one colour, use them all, that way motorists could easily differentiate the potholes whilst navigating between them (if they’re ridiculously agile and talented drivers). For those who are unfamiliar with Twister, it’s a game, with rows of multi-coloured circles, and participants try to… Maybe it’d just be easier to show you? This particular video isn’t in English, but it’s a simple enough game that I think you’ll get the idea.
You might ask, why painting potholes is the right solution to the cavernous gouges littering our roadways?
I’m glad you asked, here’s the answers to that very question:
1. Painting is cheaper – because less machinery is required, and unskilled workers could easily apply the colouring
2. It will look pretty – from a distance, a roadway decorated with multi-coloured patches may even take on an impressionist styled appearance (think Monet)
3. It is fun – did you watch the Twister video? Hell yeah, that looks like fun!
Today I think we’ve learned that we don’t need any high priced think tank undertakings, or even a formal mandate to solve real world problems. Astute observation and creativity of everyday folks will go a long towards making the world a better place.
So get to work, and think you some thinks. I personally find that I do some of my best thinking with a beer in hand.