Over at the New York Times by Design column, Allison Arieff proposes that this is as good a time as ever for ridiculous ideas and out of the box innovation. Focusing on the work of Steven Johnson she states that we could all be inventors.
According to 70-year old Johnson " America has been falling into a depression, a psychological depression, for many years. Yet this is a land of pioneer inventors. It annoys me that an untrained person like myself can think up products easily (in fact I usually spend energy ‘turning off’ the idea-generating machine just as psychics train themselves to turn off their capability) and yet the nation seems to sit helplessly passive and wait to be saved somehow."
He brings up a valid point. Only recently have advertising agencies even begun to delve into creating their own products,defining usability, making products better rather than just branding them. At the same time, ad agency clients are becoming more conservative as the economy worsens, deterring the innovation already possible. Rather then pushing forward many companies will now sit frightful and stagnant.
In this economy, perhaps innovation won't come from brands and advertisers. It may just come from regular people, those with no corporate ties and no bottom line to worry about. What could happen if the collective populations, all the average joes out there spent less time in front of the boob tube and more time inventing a new and better boob tube. Our nation is now full of unemployed masses. Wouldn't it be interesting if there was impetus for every man to seek out every day innovation. Sure they'd be a lot of nonsense in riff-raff of mass invention but somewhere along the way someone would come up with something brilliant. And with so many problems in the world, so much in need of a remedy, this may just be the time for craziest of ideas.