Friday, November 14, 2014

For here am I sitting in a tin can, far above the world (David Bowie)

History is full of 'you can't always get what you want might find you get what you need' stories.

You know the drill - protagonist turns adversity into triumph!

Here's one from Dr Ian Hunter's excellent book 'Imagine':

As a young boy Josiah Wedgwood was stricken with smallpox. Among his injuries his right foot was crippled which meant he couldn't operate his potter's wheel for long periods.

Instead he turned to study - specifically, the antiquities, Roman and Greek pottery. At age 28 he started out in business. Initially, he wasn't very successful but his classically inspired works gradually caught on when he produced a new type of clay - creamware. That was a huge innovation! He became a rock star of the pottery world. 

He still is!

He was innovative - taking classical art and reworking it in a new form. He also had novel marketing strategies to get his product out. The guy was a genius!

It could be argued (by me) that getting smallpox moved him into new ways of thinking. He didn't get what he wanted- unlimited time at the potter's wheel- he got what he needed- time to devote to new ways of thinking, time to be innovative.

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