Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Observing the everyday

I came upon Jane Fulton Suri's book again tonight, "Thoughtless Acts" and it made me think about the physical world around us and how we've all become such pros and masters at coping within it.

Have you ever noticed how so many things in the day to day world you live in don't work, or aren't convenient? Like getting luggage on and off the rental car shuttle bus. Or signage on most freeways in most major cities that lead nowhere. Or the chair in the salon when you get your hair cut, and you need to lean back just so to get your head in the sink, but it just never seems to fit quite right.

Suri's point, and I agree with her, is there is a lot of inspiration to be sought from real life and the mundane day to day. It is easily overlooked when we become preoccupied with our routines, roles, and traditional domains, and their established processes.

There's a lot of inertia to be overcome by breaking out of these habitual ways of working and thinking, and even getting out and just observing directly the world around you. It's in this observation of routine things, places, processes, that innovative ideas for attending to things that may be broken that we have learned to take for granted can occur.

Try it sometime and see what you see.


  1. Ter,I got a kick out of your example of the sink at the hairdresser. I think the sink would be comfortable if they put wheels on the bottom so its distance from the chair were adjusted to fit you. Or, conversely, put the chair on wheels, I guess. The wheels could have breaks like a wheelchair. I find once the chair is leaned back the sink isn't the right distance to adjust to fit where my neck and skull meet. I can think about your examples but don't seem to have any of my own. Goes to show that I haven't been paying enough attention to those details! Perception dulled by routine, not part of my natural skill set, or a bit of both perhaps.

    Still waiting to read what you have to say about grade 9 boys, by the way. Did I miss it?

  2. I'd like to see an elevator that can be voice activated, juggling shopping bags/luggage/whatever to free up a hand to reach up and press the button is an exercise in itself...