Extreme Inventing

Extreme-inventing.com is our sister site. Extreme Inventing was devised as a myth buster. The myth? To invent, or be creative, one needs to be an extra ordinary individual. The truth is, we are all inventive, to invent is natural. This message is coming through at last in ideas such as everyday creativity, in approaches to innovation like jugaad, frugal innovation, reverse innovation, and in America’s Maker (DIY) Movement. In comparison to these, Extreme Inventing has a philosophical as well as a practical root. It was developed from ideas on the nature of technology from the philosopher of technology Andrew Feenberg. Extreme inventing is the art, or perhaps the craft, of recognising and using the innate properties of found objects in some functional way, such as, the sharpness of a stone, the weight of water, the slipperyness of wet clay, and even emergent social properties. In prehistory all inventing was Extreme, and most found objects would have been natural.

The implications of accepting this apparently radical position for policy makers, and others who encourage and even demand citizens or employees to be inventive, is clear. If everyone is inventive, what should be done to harness that inventiveness?  Perhaps change should begin in schools. The most prolific Extreme Inventors are children, usually when playing with others, but this natural inventiveness is schooled out of them, so when they grow up, they need to learn to invent over again. Extreme Inventing is predicated on the assumption that the natural inventiveness of individuals is suppressed, even discouraged. Rather than an enterprising culture, we have the opposite. Efforts to create enterprise cultures, are doomed unless the myth of the rare and creative individual is overturned. Extreme Inventing, jugaad, the maker movement, and lean start-up, are all part of an extreme approach to doing just this.

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