Back in middle school, the word “random” rode a wave of popularity to dominate the lexicon of my friends and I. The speaker would drag it out for effect; (“raaaandooom”) and those who used it meant to say “whoah man, you just took that idea to the next level!” But they could also use it with a raised eye brow, as though to say “why are you so weird?” An arched brow can be deadly at that socially fragile age, and this is, perhaps, where creativity dies for many people.
Random is a crucial part of the creative process. It is the step when you let your mind loosely associate with the accumulated facts and ephemera floating in your brain in the hopes that those random connections to random things will lead to magic.
As kids we are instinctively comfortable with free association/daydreaming. But later in life when there is more at stake, like in the workplace, randomness can seem pointless and wasteful. It’s no wonder we’re hesitant, when we’ve all had the habit of linear thinking beaten into us.
But as a result, “random” has no place in modern business culture. However, that is the same “business culture” that has put creativity on a (well-deserved) pedestal. And we would argue that true creativity can’t happen without a healthy dose of random.
Since our company lives or dies on our ability to come up with creative new ideas, we set about creating a tool that uses random stimulus to help make sure that happens.
After several iterations we have found our digital muse which we call The Thinkerbot. It is an app that pulls purely arbitrary content (we attempt to filter out the naughty stuff) from the web and displays it one piece at a time in 30 second increments. Each of the images in this post was a gift from The Thinkerbot.
It is a weirdly hypnotic experience. And we are sharing The Thinkerbot with the world for free because we think we could all use more weirdly hypnotic experiences. Spend a few minutes with The Thinkerbot, and if you’re not feeling more creative we’ll give you your money back!