MIT’s Influence?

Gideon Gartner on MIT's InfluenceMost of my Mechanical Engineering courses at MIT bored me to tears. One exception was a course called “Creativity” which may have influenced me entrepreneurially.  We were given a 150-page manual describing a planet called Arcturus IV (fictitious  of course) which was similar to, but which possessed different characteristics than Earth, e.g. gravitational pull, soil and atmospheric characteristics, weirdly conceived inhabitants and so forth.

Our task was to design furniture, farm implements etc. for the Arcturians, considering the fresh set of physical laws  which were detailed in  in the course manual. This creativity course was clearly designed to push us beyond the framework of standard thinking, and it’s quite likely that it influenced my thinking processes. After I told her this story, the writer Lisa McGurrin in an article she wrote about me called “A Wild Duck Who Doesn’t Follow the Leader”, said: “creativity took precedence over accepted beliefs and going out on a limb was invariably more attractive than security”.


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