It starts with observation

Where do creative ideas come from?

I could have titled this post with that question. Or I could talk about writing product reviews. In fact, most of my writings are commentary on things; and that’s what product reviews are essentially about. So product reviews or the way I approach it, is exactly the same sort of approach I take towards most of my creative writing or even storytelling.

It starts with observation and close observation. That sometimes get mixed up with ‘thinking’; because we do try to ‘think’ and recall things about our experience with a product, or anything, in order to come up with our views about it. But the truth is that when we interact with a product, that itself already underlies the experience. And we have to be observing it to begin to have an awareness of that interaction.

Take for example, toilet paper that we use daily. What can you say about it? What have you observed?

How often do you think about how many ply it is. Or the texture: is it soft, moist, too dry, powdery? Then the perforation along each section: is it well perforated? Does it tear well or easily? I hate it when the edges don’t tear well and you’ve got this long tiny strip at the end that doesn’t go off. Some of the paper are so poorly perforated, it doesn’t tear well and you end up having shredded pieces at the end.

And then, does the different ply within a sheet stick well together? I hate it when I lift off only one or two ply on top and there’s some left which goes back into the reel when you pull and that creates such a ridiculous conundrum where the different ply sticks to the wrong side or drops off as you tear it. Absolute disaster.

Finally, the core; what is the color of the cardboard; does it smell stinky? Does it feel thick? What can you use with it? How would you recycle it?

If you were to simply engage the world a little more, even with the simplest and most mundane things in life; it can be so infinitely more interesting. And it all starts with observation.