Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Elementary Class Solves One Of The World's Biggest Mysteries In 10 Minutes"

Sometimes the stuff you see on the Internet -- and on Facebook, particularly (or it least so it seems to me) -- is pretty silly.

Okay, let's be frank -- sometimes it's just downright stupid, and leaves you scratching your head and thinking "Huh? What was the point of THAT?"

Before rolling out of bed this morning, I did my usual quick email check on the iPad I keep next to me, and also quickly looked at Facebook. There I saw a link from someone -- I can't remember who it was, some Facebook "friend" I barely know, most likely -- which had a very intriguing headline: "Elementary Class Solves One Of The World's Biggest Mysteries In 10 Minutes", followed by gushing praise from a number of people about how amazing it was.

So I clicked -- or rather, touched (this IS an iPad, after all) -- on the link, and watched the short video.

To spare you the few minutes you might otherwise waste looking at this thing -- time which might be better spent pulling lint out of your navel, or something -- here's what the video showed: 

It starts out with a message from some company stating "Our clients want us to do more work in less time. How do we make them understand that for new, effective ideas we need more time?"

Then an "experiment" is shown, in which a class of elementary school children are each given a partial drawing of a clock face and asked to complete it in ten seconds. As you might guess, that's only enough time to do a rudimentary finish, adding a round outline, some numbers, and so forth.

Following that, the students are given the same incomplete drawing again, but this time they are given ten minutes to finish it. The predictable result is that the drawings are much more elaborate and detailed, some even incorporating whimsical elements which have nothing to do with clocks per se but are fun to look at.

I watched this thing twice, trying -- and failing -- to see exactly which of the "World's Biggest Mysteries" was "solved" through the efforts of this elementary school class in ten minutes. What am I missing? -- PL


Jeff M said...

What I got from is that people take the full amount of time given to get the job done, even when much less time is needed to accomplish the task. Sure the results were pretty, but they also had a lot of extra bells and whistles that weren't necessary for function. If people would just accomplish the task, and move onto the next one, without regard for the time given, things would get done more efficiently. ...I think?

Mayhem said...

The humorous adage of Cyril Parkinson that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."?

Aaron Hazouri said...

I think the point that the ad agency was trying to make was that they needed more time to come up with good ideas. Which sounds great, but I can tell you that as a freelance designer, a guy doesn't need a Michelangelo-quality rendering for his air conditioner service ad. He needs a decent drawing and he needs it quick.

Also, I think sometimes the best ideas are generated as the result of external pressure. Old Looney Tunes, for example, or movies made hard up against a budget and forced to come up with creative solutions.

PL said...

Thanks for the comments, Jeff, Mayhem and Aaron -- but I am still left wondering what, exactly, is the "one of the world's biggest mysteries" which is referred to in the title of the piece. -- PL

Unlucky Charm said...

The mystery of creativity is that inspiration comes at the oddest times.

I remember a creative writing assignment I had in high school. The teacher had written on the chalkboard to "Write the first thing that comes to mind. You have the whole hour to complete the assignment."

At the end of the hour I turned in a piece of paper blank other than a squiggle. The other students had all written out long stories or poetry.

The teacher graded the papers and then returned them to us.

I had an A+ at the top of my page.

The other students then complained that I scored higher than they did when I had not even done the assignment.

The teacher's response was that I had done exactly what the assignment was. He said he asked for the first thought that came to our minds to show us that sometimes we try too hard to create something appealing to others and in over thinking a given task could be wasting time with work and forgetting to play. He also said true creativity was a personal perception and art was not going to all look the same and had the other students written a single word or drawn a picture of an image that had come to mind they would also have gotten an A+.