Research & Design Strategy

How many people does it take to turn on a light bulb?

My job takes me on the road a lot. That means I get to see a lot of cool places and meet tons of people but it also means that I have a lot of airport and airplane downtime.

After I realized that Angry Birds was dominating a bit too much of that downtime, I decided to find a new app that may actually stimulate a few of my brain cells while in airplane mode. So I downloaded a new app – What’s the Word – where you’re shown four pictures and you have to guess the one-word answer of what they all have in common using a random set of provided letters. I happily enjoyed the game for many trips, breezing through one puzzle after the other. Then, I hit a wall. I reached a set of four pictures (see exhibit A!) that baffled me for several trips and many minutes (yes, entire MINUTES!) waiting on airport runways.

Of course, like so many apps these days, if you get stuck, you can get help by forking over a buck or two. But who wants to pay a few bucks for that when you could buy something important like the latest Taylor Swift song from iTunes instead?! I was reaching the point where it felt like I was never going to get past this and was either going to have to A) give in and pay a few bucks for some hints or B) totally admit defeat and delete the app.

While some solid “heads-down time” can spark ideas and create a great lightbulb, collaboration is often what finally flips the switch to "on" for that bulb.

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