Jack Uldrich
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Unlearning the Toaster

Posted in Aging, Creativity, Design, Innovation, Kitchen & Bath, Manufacturing, Plastics

Portable toaster At first appearances, the idea of a portable toaster may seem absurd and, perhaps, it is. But is there any reason a toaster can't look like the one in the picture to the right?

One of the real benefits of unlearning is that it can help spur creavity and innovation. For example, what if the purpose of the portable toaster is not to allow users to have toast-on-the-go, but instead to help customers remove the bulky toaster from the kitchen counter. Or what if the product is designed for the elderly widow who likes a single piece of toast only once a week? Or what if the device doesn't even end up being used by people to make toast and, instead, is used by urban dwellers who can't easily start a fire but who want to quickly roast a marshmellow to curb their craving for a Smore?

3 thoughts on “Unlearning the Toaster”

  1. I really appreciate your focus on “unlearning” and I notice that so much of my adult path into growth is “unlearning” the things I learned in school as a child.
    When I was writing my M.Ed. thesis, I defined inquiry as “willingly surrendering what we know for a short time so that something knew might be known.” That’s sort of a futzy definition to me now, but I think it points to a core principle you’re bringing up — to be truly creative, it helps to be willing to surrender assumptions and dreams up new connections between things. Thanks so much for articulating this!!

  2. Jack Uldrich says:

    Gretchen: Thanks for the note. I really like your definition of inquiry.
    P.S. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw your spelling of “knew.” It might have been some kind of unconscious slip but it got me to thinking … “Knew” = Learned and “New” = Unlearned.

  3. That’s hilarious, Jack! It’s what I get for not re-reading my comment…but you turned it around beautifully for me. 🙂

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