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Hey Guys, gapingvoid needs your help :D

My dear client, Babson College, has kindly asked me to draw them a cartoon for them, based on the idea of "PRODUCTIVE StUPIDITY".

I messed around with the idea already, but I somehow I haven't managed to crack it yet. Aaargh.

So I thought maybe I'll try open-sourcing it to my friends, see if "the power of social media" can help etc.

Here's the powerpoint slide that they gave me to explain the backstory, thanks:

<a href="http://gapingvoid.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Productive-Stupidity-1.pptx">Productive Stupidity (1)</a>

Plus Len Schlesinger, the President of Babson, posted some thoughts on the subjects:

http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2012/01/18/engaging-productive-stupidity/

At the very least, I hope it'll start an interesting, fun conversation. "Open Source as Social Object". Exactly :D

Thanks Again!

:)

http://babson.edu

UPDATE: Forrester's Josh Bernoff wrote a blog post on it. Thanks, Josh :)

http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2011/11/the-power-of-not-understanding.html
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38 comments
 
They said it was stupid to try and fly like the birds...
 
Lemmings off a cliff, with a trampoline at the bottom. May not fit, but it sure as hell is the first thing that came to mind. This is why you do what you do - and I don't <grin>
 
Stupidity when someone kicks or hits a machine that isn't working, but productive when that makes the machine work again.
 
I know they want to use the word Stupid as a reference, but I think naive is more appropriate, based on what I read in that slide. For instance, a child may be naive to how a television remote works, but that doesn't stop them from pressing buttons until they find a result.
 
Most worthwhile things I did, started off as acts of "Productive Stupidity"... If I had more time, I'd write a list. A very LONG list :D
 
In buddhism, they call it Beginner's Mind, and it's a blessing. Approach each thing as if you've never experienced it before and your life will be filled with curiosity, awe and wonder. Does that help?
 
From the description, a part of productive stupidity involves forgetting what you already know ("being ignorant by choice") and starting from the beginning, from first premises. The first thing that came to mind was "Sometimes re-inventing the wheel leads to a better car/bicycle/wheel." There's probably some play on the idea of "the best thing since sliced bread" too. ("This bread slicer is the best thing since sliced bread."?)
 
"Sometimes, the best way to gain knowledge is to forget that you already have some."
 
Image of dozens of keys - don't know which one works but you know trying the keys eventually solves the problem

or great writers are great rewriters you have to scribble down stupid stuff many times before it becomes remarkable

or I've missed more than 9000 shots lost 300 games 26 times missed the game winning shot - failing over & over again thats why I succeed - Michael Jordan
 
Thanks! This is all VERY helpful, Guys.... Please keep it coming... I am processing, processing.... wrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.... :D
 
A caveman shaping rocks in search of a perfect triangle, discards several perfectly wheel like non-triangles.
 
Am reminded of how Hawking was laughed at when he wanted to "weigh" the universe to try and figure out what the "extra stuff" was. That turned out to be dark matter and they still don't know what it is.
 
All the great explorers were at one time called "stupid"...exploration and productivity demand going to the edge.
 
It goes along with "Ignorance is Bliss..." If you don't know what's coming, you can't be afraid or stressed out over it. As to
Productive Stupidity, back when the world was "flat" it sure must have seemed stupid to sail off into the sunset. Surely you were going to end up falling off the edge...

I don't know why, but I see an image of the planets/stars in the middle, and on one side are a couple of Alien creatures gazing at it and saying, "don't be stupid... there can't possibly be any other intelligent life out there..." and on the other side there are a few of us humans gazing at the same stars saying, "You never know... let's keep exploring..."
 
Too often I hear people say, "But that's not the way we do it." As if "the way we do it" was the absolute, best way of doing something. It's usually not. But they are stuck on what they know and it limits them to progress further. Their knowledge blinds them to other possibilities. #ProductiveStupidity makes me think of people who have been ignorant of or have deliberately gone against "Conventional Wisdom" and discovered wonderful things. They aren't limited by what they know. Ignorance is freedom to create.
 
I love the idea of a guy shouting "Hey guys! I just did this thing that didn't work!! Come check it out!" fascinating concept, looking forward to seeing the end results
 
Maybe an elephant in a room with a tiny tablecloth and a vase of flowers barely covering its head and a couple of people looking right at it saying What elephant? Do you like my table?
 
What it brings to my mind is this: You can't put water in a full cup…stay empty my friends.

But maybe I watch too many beer commercials.

That was the meaning of Jesus saying: you can't put new wine in old wineskins. It's a response to the pharisees (the full wineskins, the know-it-alls, the authorities of their day.) asking him why his disciples were all irreligious people. Jesus response is, in essence, because they're the only ones who'll receive my teaching.
 
Two ideas, don't know about the graphic

"ingorance is the bliss of scientific discovery"

"challenge what you think you know to achieve what others may not think is possible"
 
Hey Hugh. +Seth Godin would say (and I'm paraphrasing) "If I fail more than you, I win, because built into that philosophy is the assumption that I will get to play again and again until something succeeds. Those who don't get to play again are those who either are too safe so as not to fail and get stuck or fail so recklessly that they don't get to play again." (again I'm paraphrasing heavily)

interview here ... Behind the Brand--Seth Godin

I think that sums it up pretty well ... hope it helps and hope you're well.
 
Wow..... look at all the comments! Thanks, Guys :)
 
Stupid doesn't play by the rules.
 
This invokes a lot of lessons I was supposed to learn as I grew up and as an adult. One is about the difference between algebraic and geometric problem solving. Without getting hung up on the equation semantics, algebraic has a defined problem with a mostly knowable approach to solving where as geometric allows for more open-ended testing and experimenting. Another thing I remember is a little book about Mastery where one of the chapters was about being a fool. It feels awkward to ditch the known and try things that might fail, get no results, or that we can't make sense of. If one is feeling awkward or like a fool then they are likely out of their comfort zone.

"He felt like a fool, and science was better for it."
 
If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
William Blake
 
"New doesn't feel comfortable"

I was thinking about how things we know provide comfort, routines, old pairs of jeans, stable relationships. When we do something new, it never feels comfortable like something old can. Edit: Comfort is the best word I could come up with though we have all had comfortable clothes that were new.
 
Stupidity has been defined as "An incurable state of somnambulism with which mankind is blessed, and under the spell of which it performs the most fantastic actions, such as marriage, balloting, warring, preaching, selling, buying, baptizing" (E. Hubbard, The Roycroft Dictionary)

So it's no wonder that by reexamining what people take for granted, you're bound to make some great discoveries.

Lt. Columbo pretty much embodied the spirit of productive stupidity: "Lt. Columbo is a shambling, disheveled-looking, seemingly naive Italian American police detective who is consistently underestimated by his fellow officers and by the murderer du jour. The subjects of his investigations are initially both reassured and distracted by his circumstantial speech and increasingly irritating asides. Despite his unprepossessing appearance and apparent absentmindedness, he shrewdly solves all of his cases and secures all evidence needed for indictment. His formidable eye for detail and meticulous and dedicated approach become apparent only late in the storyline." (from Wikipedia)
 
Surrender to not-knowing. Nurture the improvisation of productive stupidity.
 
Babson college? That's an education institution, right? Maybe something about “if they weren't stupid, they wouldn't be here”, in the spirit of the Church sign saying “This is a segregated church: Sinners only.” (Always loved that sign.)
Maybe to roll the concept further, have the faculty embrace it—full cups being un-fillable, as was pointed by Goyo.

Or maybe go negative —it's a fine line, but you've threaded it before— and have a content, know-it-all do nothing because he “knows how the world ends already”.
 
I'm stupid, therefore I'm smart.
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