Tuesday, February 14, 2017

To Fidget or Not To Fidget?

Fidget. The word itself just doesn't sound right. Yet we've all been guilty of it, whether it may be clicking a pen during class, tapping one's foot rapidly, or literally just doing about anything with our hands. However, what if there was an invention created to help us fidget? At first, it makes no sense, but that's the creativity of the fidget cube!

Basically, the fidget cube is a...wait for it.... six-sided cube! I know, mind-blowing right?! However, it doesn't have the look of a regular cube. Each side is designed to represent a regular item that people fidget with. For example, one side has five buttons, of which three click, imitating a pen. One side has a joystick, another has a switch, and the other three sides are likewise similar. On the other hand, it can’t connect to Wi-Fi, it can’t act as a real pen, it isn’t a fun puzzle to solve; at first, it just seems to be another toy that is of no use. However, this cube has gained a lot of interest from various people. How much interest? Oh nothing much, only about $6,465,690 on Kickstarter, making it the 9th most funded item on the website. No big deal right?

The fidget cube is the brainchild of Matthew and Mark McLachlan, brothers who have innovated a line of products (albeit none as successful as the fidget cube). Incredibly enough, they started working on the fidget cube based on their past experiences with fidgeting. Both brothers were almost always moving around and playing with things at their desks when thinking. One day, they recognized the potential of an invention based on their fidgeting, and started checking out the items they fidgeted with. They saw that they were basically kids objects, brightly colored and cheap, which lead them to see the future for a professional fidgeting device. I think this really highlights something called the path-of-least-resistance theory (Ward, 1994, 1995), which says that when people make new ideas, they first get characteristics of items they know of and then add on to it. The fidget cube is a great example; the McLachlan brothers took items from everyday life and interwove them into one cube. I want to point out that while this may not be a big-C creative idea (I mean, this isn’t the next iPhone), it’s cool to see how an original idea can be made from several other ideas. Creativity doesn’t always have to come from something that’s completely new; it can literally be right in front of us.

By the way, believe it or not, there actually is a market for the fidget cube! Why? Matthew and Mark both passionately believe that fidgeting is a way for people to think innovatively, and if used properly, it could lead to new discoveries in real life. In this way, the fidget cube is used to focus this fidgeting and help people start to think more creatively. Still skeptical of this? There have actually been many studies about how fidgeting can actually boost memory, focus and creativity, and according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, it can make you healthier. More importantly, the number of ADD, ADHD, autism, and other diagnoses have increased a lot in the past decade, so this fidget cube may definitely help those people focus and create more. In neuroscientist Nancy Andreason’s “Secrets of the Creative Brain”, creative people said that their creative ideas usually happen during Random Episodic Silent Thought (aka when they were RESTing). If fidgeting could help others funnel their creativity during resting or thinking moments, that could expand the limits of creativity to who knows where! Whatever the case, this cube will be released in a few weeks, so its impact could either be amazing or a failure. Do you think the fidget cube will deliver to its promise?

http://www.adweek.com/creativity/story-behind-fidget-cube-4-million-phenomenon-you- didnt-know-you-needed-173491/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestreptalks/2016/10/17/kickstarter-craze-mclachlan-brothers- raise-6m-for-a-vinyl-desk-toy-for-fidgeters/#705defb23af3


  1. Being a severe fidgeter myself, I love the idea of this little device. Although, as a leg-bouncer, I am not sure how much use I would get out of it, but that is beside the point. I appreciate your efforts to stress the importance of the impact that little-C creative ideas can have on the world. A big-C idea has the creative impact to change an entire field or the way that people think. A little-C creative idea has the power to affect people more personally. What one person may see as a cube of useless gadgets, another sees as their escape to a peaceful place of focus. We must not forget about the little-C creative ideas that we encounter every day that shape the way we live.

  2. This device is so cool! I've actually seen one in a class of mine, so I know that it is something that can help focus some of that fidgety energy you get in class. I think it is interesting in how it can help in managing ADD, ADHD and other disorders where people have trouble paying attention due to restlessness. I may show this to my brother who has ADHD, see what he thinks about it.


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