[lit-ideas] Hinges

  • From: "John McCreery" <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ANTHRO-L <ANTHRO-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Lit-Ideas <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 23:29:35 +0900

This just popped into my mail box from a marketing list. Liked it so much I
thought I'd share.

Friday, May 30, 2008
*The Little Things Can Offer The Greatest Lessons And Inspiration*
By Max Kalehoff

18-month-old son has been obsessed with hinges since the age of six months.
It's awesome to watch such a simple apparatus fascinate such an early yet
fast-developing mind. Any door or large object empowered with a hinge will
captivate my son longer than any toy specifically designed to entertain or
stimulate. A future engineer? Maybe.

I acknowledge that my son's intrigue with hinges may seem a little random.
But his fresh, untainted eyes remind me how we often overlook some of the
most significant technologies and developments precisely because they're so
simple, work so flawlessly and have ingrained themselves so deeply into our

What makes the hinge so interesting, important and inspirational? A hinge is
just a hinge, right? After some thought, I came up with several aspects
driving my son's intrigue. Deceivingly subtle, the hinge represents:

-Power: the ability to move heavy, otherwise stationary objects.

-Elegance: simple, yet unusually effective.

-Perfection: It does one thing, but does it right.

-Reliability: perfection every time.

-Beauty: Hinges are pragmatic, but have proven they can be beautiful, like

-Environmental control: When coupled with a door, a hinge enables you to
turn off the outside world, seek shelter or allow visitors.

-Expression: Not only are hinges visual objects of expression for their
owners -- deliberately or by accident -- they are active expression
instruments. A hinge empowers you to be welcoming to others, shut people
out, or boldly express anger through a door-slam.

As marketers, it's important to stay curious and cognizant of the small yet
integral cogs in our life -- and understand why they're so successful. The
subtle yet ubiquitous things can offer us some of the greatest lessons and
inspiration for the things we make and the services we deliver. The little
things often showcase the fundamental value drivers that so many products
and marketers fail at.

How to apply this thinking? Pick one subtle but ubiquitous object in your
life each week. Examine all the roles it plays, the value it delivers, and
why it's secured a place in your life. That's a lesson and eye-opener by
itself. Next, take those attributes and compare them to your own product or
service. Every attribute may not be directly comparable, but your concept of
meaning, value and relevance will certainly be challenged and inspired.


John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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