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Creativity and Constraints

Although my university obligations are enormous at the moment, I find myself drawn back into the Origami world. Thus, I came across this month’s challenge on the Origami Forum - fold something cute. This brought me back to a subject I’ve given quite a lot of thought to over the last few months - the importance of constraints to creativity.

This a fact that I keep bumping into, and I’ll give a few examples.

  1. At work, we’ve had to decrease the memory consumption of our product by an order of magnitude. This resulted in some very creative solutions by the team, which I think will also result in a better product overall.

  2. Parkinson’s law states that no matter how much time you allocate for a given task, then that’s how much time that task will take to complete. This means that what could have been accomplished in a week can take a month, without necessarily any added value introduced.

  1. The limitations posed by Origami on the designer forces one to think on what exactly defines the subject. I’ve seen too many cats and horses which end up looking like dogs. So think about it - what is it that makes a cat, well, a cat? For example, I made a human model several years back, and it turns out it’s an Elvis. Because of the hair, you see?

  2. There’s a phenomenon here in Israel, which I suspect happens elsewhere in the western world, where parents attempt to give their children everything they didn’t have growing up. This has many downsides. Children growing up without having to work hard in order to succeed will have a hard time coping with the real world, where nothing is given for free. That’s why we see so many people still living with their parents well after the age of 18, or not working, or spending more than they earn, or many other things. Count me guilty!

I think I could talk about the last example quite a bit more, and I’ve obviously made a lot of simplifications and generalizations, but I hope you get the idea - boundaries, limits and constraints are good.

I’m sure I’ll write more about it, but right now I have to think what exactly defines “cute”.