Structured Chaos



I came across an interesting interview with Hideshi Hamaguchi, the inventor of the USB stick.

He believes that the best mental state for being innovative is ‘structured chaos’, which is a balance between rational and intuitive thinking.

Art and engineering

Most artists are intuitive thinkers, while most engineers are rational thinkers. So how do you achieve the best of both worlds?

He has two suggestions. One is to switch between the two modes to try and achieve the best middle ground. You could do this by doing a quick prototype (creative mode), and then refining it later based on data and user insight (rational).

Another way to achieve it is to start from a piece of data, and think creatively around it using sketching, and then combining both influences to create a final solution.

I like this approach, and I really like the name ‘structured chaos’.

Another advantage of encouraging this kind of thought is it bridges the communication between designers and engineers who would typically approach problem solving in different ways.