In elementary school I was partnered up with another young person as part of a school-wide buddy system. Once a month we would get together and do activities, like playing games or doing crafts.
One such project was to create an image that showed what it meant to have “school spirit.” I enjoyed drawing, so the opportunity excited me.
My buddy and I, brainstorming on the idea of “school spirit,” stumbled into the concept of school “spirits.” We both had a laugh, and so I proceeded to draw our school, surrounded by ghosts.
The response from the teacher was less than favorable.
“This isn’t the type of ‘spirit’ that we meant.”
We were asked to change the ghosts back into humans, and have those humans doing “spirit” related tasks, like cleaning up garbage or helping a friend.
Within the context of a school project, the teacher was entirely appropriate and justified in the expectation that my work be correct. In the modern workplace, however, novel thinking can often lead to greatness.
In the art world, taking something cherished and known and breaking it is viewed with respect. In web design, the sites that get noticed are the ones that break the mold, that do things a bit “wrong.”
Sometimes when I feel stuck creatively, or want to explore some “out of the box” thinking, I think about my early days. Being told that there was a right way and a wrong way to do something, and then striving to be right.
As a professional today, I often long for wrongness.
It would be nice to turn off correct thinking every once and a while, just to see what a little wrong can do.