While attending and presenting at the CPSI conference last week I managed to find a few moments to get outside of the hotel and take in some of the sights, sounds and flavors of Atlanta. The conference was dedicated to creative thinking and innovation so perhaps it’s no coincidence that I kept running into examples of my favorite creativity catalyzing tool: forced connections (also referred to as combinatorial creativity). Essentially, it’s the mashing up of seemingly different things to create something new.
Take this sign, a great forced connection between Italian and Southern hospitality. In my opinion this is considerably more successful than the Collard Kimchi dish I ate the night before. Curiosity got the best of me, I had to try it. And I was pretty sorry that I did.
What happens when you cross a cotton mill with a condo? No, that’s not a joke. It’s actually an amazing example of urban revitalization with a factory that had ceased serving its purpose. My hats off to the developers – they maintained architectural authenticity leaving many elements intact (as seen in the background of this image), and honored the rich history of this place through its rebirth as a hip place for urban dwelling denizens.
I came across this little poem in the window of a coffeeshop. All of the windows had clever sayings printed n them. Rhymes are fun examples of forced connections. I also like the play here between transparency (i.e. looking through a window) and translation (i.e. looking at words for meaning).
The sign here reads: Sister Louisa’s CHURCH Of The Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium, Come On In Precious!! Below the arrow on the left it states (it’s a bar). So, yes, it’s a forced connection between bar and church with some ping pong and living room thrown in for good measure. Other signs on the building simply read CHURCH and (it’s a bar). It’s funny to see that, clever as the name is, it still requires qualification that this establishment is, in fact, a bar.