Lessons from MIT Creativity Course, 1956

Most of my Mechanical Engineering courses at MIT bored me to tears. One exception was a course called “Creativity”, which may have influenced me post-school in thinking out-of-the-box! .

We were given a 150-page manual describing a planet called Arcturus IV. Obviously it was fictitious, and as described it was somewhat similar to Earth, while possessing several different but important  characteristics, for us (the students) to internalize. Differences included its gravitational pull, its soil and atmospheric characteristics, its weirdly conceived inhabitants, and so forth.

Our task was to design clothing, furniture, farm implements and transport for the Arcturians, all based upon the fresh set of physical laws which were detailed in the course manual. This creativity course was clearly designed to push us beyond the framework of standard thinking, and aside from the fact that it’s virtually the only course I recall well, it quite likely influenced my thinking processes.

While running Gartner, writer Lisa McGurrin interviewed me with a focus on entrepreneurism. Her article about me was called ‘A Wild Duck Who Doesn’t Follow the Leader’ and included the creativity course story with comments such as “creativity took precedence over accepted beliefs and going out on a limb was invariably more attractive than security”.

I’m posting a rather long bio containing a number of entrepreneurial-intensive case studies from my life. Read it here.

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