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Innovation in Unexpected Places

We asked some of Code42’s finest to share their thoughts on the inspiring TED Talk, Jay Silver: Hack a Banana, make a keyboard! Read on for some personal innovation stories…

Josh Seevers, Customer Champion

My first thought watching Jay was of the philosophical similarities to parkour. Parkour is a philosophy of movement through environments using unconventional methods and paths with extraordinary and beautiful results. It takes the world’s expectations and rules, and then teaches people how to circumnavigate them.

My next thought was of the maker movement 3D printers. I love the idea that you can physically make anything. You are not tethered to a store, only limited by your design skills and imagination. The maKey maKey is an electronic step in this direction of freedom. It further untethers us from a consumeristic, prefab society. It gives us the freedom to configure our electronic interfaces.

As Jay pointed out, it’s a natural part of human society to modify our daily needs. From ripping palm fronds for bags, to molding clay for pots, to hammering tools on a forge, we used to create what we needed. In modern times, we have moved away from a society of self-sustaining and modifiable goods, finding most of what we need pre-boxed for us on a shelf at our local supermarket. Jay’s machines put us back on the path back to self-sufficiency. I’m just glad we get to keep our electronic toys on this path; one step closer to a Star Trek replicator.

Tony Lindquist, System Architect

“Sometimes, what we KNOW gets in the way of what COULD be.” Damn – this guy nailed me in one simple sentence.

All of my life I’ve been what I would call an “Implementer.” I make things happen; I pride myself on making sure that things get done and done well. Then someone like Jay Silver comes along and shows me that I’m the proverbial stick in the mud. I thought it was my wife’s job to make sure my ego stayed a reasonable size.

I’ve got to admit, though, it really makes me think. What assumptions am I making about the world around me that could be… altered? What things could I create? Certain things leap to mind; for instance, I have horses. What could I do with a galloping horse? Beyond the fact that my horse might be a little, well, STARTLED, if he were to suddenly start making noises every time his feet hit the ground, it might make those dreary horse shows far more interesting! That’s assuming, of course, that he doesn’t dump my butt on the ground for my trouble.

I could, of course, be more practical and address the question of what I could do at work; that I should try to imagine new uses for our technologies. After all, we’ve built a lot of stuff that could and should be repurposed, and all of that would be true. The problem is that it seems to fly in the face of Jay’s purpose. He wants people to think freely and be open to really outrageous ideas, so I’ll tackle the work questions tomorrow. For the moment, I think I’ll go wire up a horse and see what he sounds like.

Melissa Driscoll, Sales Operations

I feel this is a wonderful and creative idea for everyone.

Recently, my nephew was diagnosed as a high functioning Autistic child. He is unable to focus on things very long but he loves music. The middle child of three boys, he has a hard time interacting with his brothers. His older brother loves science and figuring things out. I showed this video to my sister and she’s very excited to try this out with both boys, hoping they will be able to bond over music. It’s a wonderful idea to bring music to everyday life – it helps heal the soul of those who are hurting. Innovating and using everyday objects to create music is not only fun, but also therapeutic.

Jace Brendle, Enterprise Marketing

There is no better way to learn about the world around you than playing with the world and seeing what works. My kids know this, but sometimes, old people like me forget.

For example, when I was in the second grade we learned about magnets. You can make an electro-magnet by simply wrapping wire around a nail and attaching that to a D-Cell battery. COOL! I went home and found a large bolt, a long piece of wire and a car battery. VERY COOL! Then I took a foot-long piece of rebar, an even longer wire and connected that to an old plug from a broken lamp. BAM! I woke up a few minutes later without any hair on my right arm. That was when I learned the difference between direct current and alternating current.

We hope you’re inspired to take a look at the world, and imagine what’s possible.

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