The freedom of non-obvious connections

I was reading an article on Jonathan Ives orange iMac (How did a British polytechnic graduate become the design genius behind £200billion Apple?) which mentioned he went to Japan to see one of the leading makers of samurai swords and spent hours in a sweets factory for inspiration.

For some reason, this reminded me of Paul Isakson‘s presentation How to Wander With Purpose:


Viewing the presentation again, the connection wasn’t as immediately clear as it initially felt in my head. So I decided I should write this post, in hopes of finding clarification (and having what I’m learning stick).

I think it has to do with the freedom to make non-obvious connections. The time and space and openness to learn from outside your immediate sphere is not something many employers provide, and it can be hard to find the energy to do completely on your own. That doesn’t make it less vital. I’m lucky in that I have a job where I’m expected/provoked/encouraged to open my mind and see where things may go. That means I can do a lot of this “for work” and that gives me the energy to do it not for work. Another thing I’m realizing yet again is that for work/not work isn’t a distinction that always makes sense for me.

That’s ok. I’m wandering.