Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Let's build something "unuseless" :)

I conducted a workshop on the Japanese art of "unuseless inventions" - known as Chindogu. We had a great time, and stay tuned for the blog post and some really cool Chindogus. Meanwhile, here's the deck from my workshop.

Have fun!

  • Login to see the comments

Let's build something "unuseless" :)

  1. 1. Tathagat Varma Let’s build something “unuseless”
  2. 2. Adventurer, learner, speaker... Tathagat Varma "TV"
  3. 3. “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso
  4. 4. Our brains are lazy!
  5. 5. They like patterns! "I cdn'uolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg: the phaonmneel pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rseearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Scuh a cdonition is arppoiatrely cllaed Typoglycemia . "Amzanig huh? Yaeh and you awlyas thguoht slpeling was ipmorantt.”
  6. 6. Time for a Brain Workout!
  7. 7. “I have coined the term “bisociation” in order to make a distinction between the routine skills of thinking on a single “plane”…and the creative act, which…always operates on more than one plane.” - Arthur Koestler,
  8. 8. Bisociation Examples •  Louise Braille: pinecone + reading => Braille system •  George de Mestral: burr from burdock plant + zipper => Velcro •  Jake Ritty: ship’s engine room + cash problem => (eventually) NCR! •  Edwin Budding: clothes factory + outdoors => lawn mower •  Christopher Sholes: saw piano and thought if it each key could write a letter
  9. 9. Warm-up •  Think of an object •  Think of any activity you can do with it •  Exchange the “object” with anyone in the room •  Exchange the “activity” with another person in the room •  Now think of something you can do with what you have!
  10. 10. And now…let’s go crazy!!!
  11. 11. h"ps://
  12. 12. Chindogu? •  Coined by Kenji Kawakami, Editor of “Mail Order Life” •  Means “Unusual Tool” •  Chindogus solve everyday problems •  “Unuseless” = useful (i.e. not useless) but very crazy or inconvenient to be usable •  If it is worth stealing, then it is not Chindogu!
  13. 13. No real use!
  14. 14. It must exist!
  15. 15. Anarchic!
  16. 16. Universally useless!
  17. 17. Not for sale!
  18. 18. Not funny!
  19. 19. No propaganda!
  20. 20. Always decent!
  21. 21. Free for all!
  22. 22. For everyone!
  23. 23. Why build something “unuseless”? What’s the use of a newborn baby? – Benjamin Franklin, 21 Nov 1783
  24. 24. Ok…let’s build some chindogus!
  25. 25. References • •  The Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions, 2005, •  101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions, 2000, Kawakami/dp/0393313697/ •  99 More Unuseless Japanese Inventions, 1997, dp/0393317439/ • • inventions/ • chindogu_art_intentionally_making_useless_invention_39210 • the-rage-at-fringe-festival-2010032222#axzz3zsaUdvmM • inventions/
  26. 26. Thanks! cc: Stuck in Customs - h0ps://