Do the Opposite of Your Preconception

I first discovered Richard Saul Wurman in 1989 when I picked up his aptly named and stirringly prophetic book, “Information Anxiety.” So I was thrilled to meet him last evening, even if only for a brief chat, following the Cusp Conference in Chicago.

Wurman, the founder of TED and follower of lifelong curiosities, mostly told old stories and promoted a few new projects at Cusp, which suited me fine. But he also shared this simple advice for future innovators and wannabe TEDsters: “Do the opposite of your preconception.”

That was exactly what I was thinking when I saw this oddly inverted shade umbrella near the Chicago lakefront’s Millennium Park at lunch, prior to Wurman’s presentation.

Where does rainwater go? Directly into the planters below. In my own romantic version of the world, I want to believe the designer was inspired by something like this. How will you shatter your own preconceptions today?