Doug Fitch – Furniture Designer, Architect, Interior Designer, Actor, Filmmaker, Performance Artist, Chef, Video Artist, Design Consultant to the Filipino Government, Puppeteer, Group Problem Solving Meeting Brainstormer, Theater Set Designer, and Œuvriste. How’s that for a resumé?!
One of the things you can do in a connection-making meeting is take people on an “excursion.” You create a parallel universe. Let’s say you’re trying to design a blade for a circular saw that will cut through wood but won’t take your fingers off. Rather than approach the problem directly, you take an excursion. Let’s take an excursion to the world of … frogs. Start naming anything that comes to mind: frog’s legs, lily pads, lotus leaves, tadpoles, ponds, those rings that they make when they jump into the water, banks, slime, eggs. You generate these lists that have a certain kind of complete quality to them, that of a whole world. You take any of those words that might intrigue you—the word “intrigue” is very important—and then you say, “How is this like a circular saw blade that won’t cut your fingers off?” So someone might think of tadpoles and you notice that he starts off without legs then he suddenly grows them, so maybe the blade doesn’t have any blades until it needs them and then it shoots them out when it senses something hard as opposed to something soft. So you’re up and running again. You go on an excursion when you’re bored or stuck. What’s amazing is that when you remove the ego from a group of people, wherever it is seated, then suddenly there’s an enormous and fearless positive energy that starts automatically problem-solving because it’s fun. It’s as simple as that. When you’ve nothing to lose, people start to participate.