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EGGS, CARDBOARD, FOOT FETISH GALORE: TAKING IDEAS FOR A WALK

‘Company creative workshop’. Three words guaranteed to strike terror into the heart of any slightly cynical, time-poor, strategy director. But most creative workshops don’t start with this mind-bending question:

“Have you ever noticed that an egg, once slipped carefully between the loops of a balloon whisk, is perfectly cradled by the contours of what you previously believed to be an inanimate object of limited merit beyond a single, functional purpose?”

No? Me neither.

Luckily, Malcolm Kennard has. A lecturer of serious accolade, Malcolm has taught at the RCA, Glasgow School of Art and Kingston University - whilst simultaneously holding down a career as a celebrated graphic designer. He’s now proprietor of Taking Ideas for a Walk, a company that specializes in building innovation workshops for the likes of us and D&AD.

The workshop experience itself (like the egg-whisk example) was both strangely uncomfortable and very satisfying. It gets to the very heart of what it is to be human: the ability to put 1 and 1 together and end up with 7 and to find beauty in everything that surrounds us.

What sets Malcolm apart is not just his relentless quest to reimagine and combine everyday objects into more charming things, but a desire to inspire those around him to do it as well. So he gave us a brief:

“Make an egg holder”

All of us were then handed an egg and a paper plate, resulting in some seriously over-engineered objects, a breakage (or two!) and a few standout pieces that combined design and engineering expertise.

The second task had was even briefer:

“Foot”

Accompanied by two cardboard boxes and a solitary piece of tissue paper. The winner – if there can be a winner - was an iconic Clarks desert boot constructed out of cardboard, wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a shoebox with an identical cutout pattern of the other shoe etched out on the box. There were also more than a few naked feet in outright view…

At the end of the session, there was little to show for our efforts other than mess, but that was precisely the point. It was about being taken out of the everyday and forget about saleable outputs. It let us take some ideas for a walk to keep us all on the creative not very straight and not at all narrow. And, almost to my cynical dismay, it worked. Malcolm hasn’t yet produced an iconic title like The Art of Thinking Sideways or the Usefulness of Small Things, but it’s only a matter of time. I’d call it Poetry in Notion, though I’m sure he’d come up with something much more interesting…and far more unexpected…

Rory is DewGibbons + Partners Strategy Director. To talk to him about how we can take your brand for a creative walk, email him here.

Other articles by Rory:
How the concept of ageing is getting old: wearables are for everyone 
The age of unreasonable consumption: how convenience retail can meet consumers ever-changing needs