Last Thursday, as part of Anjali’s Inspiration Sessions we went to the Science Museum! No, we weren’t just going because she hadn’t been before and just wanted to check it out, but rather to see the travelling ‘Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things’ exhibition. A lot like the ‘Power of Making’ exhibition at the V & A we went to in December this show celebrated 44 everyday classic objects and the genius behind them.
From the zip to the paper clip what this show demonstrated was the 4 key steps that lead to these ingenious yet comprehensible ideas.
For example the invention of the humble tea bag was supposedly a coincidence. In 1908 Thomas Sullivan, a tea trader sold his tea in silk packets, which allegedly some of his customers dipped in hot water to test its quality. In 2007 tea bags made up 97% of the British tea market and we now drink 165,000,000 cups of tea a day!
Another interesting object was the simple canning jar invented in 1892, which was used to preserve food before fridges came about. Even now that we do have the technology the canning jar is seeing a resurgence and is still immensely popular today as consumers desire authenticity and see it as a symbol of quality home-made goods showing how good ideas can last a lifetime.
So how can we come by great ideas ourselves? Some of these great inventions came to together by accident or after failed attempts at making something else. Some came together through collaboration with others, and building upon other peoples work. And some just needed a spark of inspiration from the world around them: so come get inspired, get out of the office and come to the next Inspiration Session!
P.S. The exhibition was not only designed as a walk through tour but was also tailored to be fully experienced on the Internet, so you can still check it out: http://www.hidden-heroes.net