How Small Things Around You Enable Creativity


There are things we come across every day that you don’t even think about.  We take for granted the little things like toothbrushes and bars of soap, because they never take up much space and they’re all but invisible in design – no one is looking at a pair of tweezers in awe of how they look.  Some things, like a nice watch or a well-made pair of headphones are at least aware of design considerations and will influence us – imagine your favorite song on a new pair of earbuds that you love.

This love generated by some small objects, whether they be a simple notepad or an eBook reader, can be a great source of creative inspiration – whereas mundane objects like your one-dollar toothbrush can make you jaded.  The little inspirations we receive on a daily basis are some of the most important avenues into a creative head space, so cultivating creativity by surrounding yourself with things that matter and inspire you is an important – and easy! – way to stimulate your originality!

Famous Inventions. Famous inventors.

Some of the most impressive inventions in recent years have been inspired by or iterated on small and otherwise simple objects.  Here are some brilliant inventors whose inventions have changed our everyday life!

Arnold Glas — Spider Web Glass

This brilliant invention is directly inspired by an object we see almost daily but tend to forget (until it’s in our hair, at least!).  By examining the effect that spider webs have on birds – that they see the webs and tend to steer clear of them – the German company Arnold Glas has developed a special UV reflective coating for windows.  This coating is invisible to our eyes yet makes the surface appear like spider webs, thereby causing the birds to avoid them.  In their tests, they found that the change is extremely beneficial to the bird population, causing 76% less bird collisions.

George de Mestral — Velcro

Velcro invention

This brilliant invention, used daily by all kinds of industries for all kinds of purposes, was created when Swiss Engineer George de Mestral went for a walk in the woods with his dog and noticed burrs clinging to himself and his pet.  He wondered if the idea had a more practical application and set to prove it – and in 1955 he patented Velcro and developed it ever since.  The name Velcro, interesting enough, is a combination of the French words Velours (Velvet) and Crochet (Hook).

Patsy Sherman — Scotchgard

Having a rather unconventional creation, this simple substance – a chemical, stain- and water-repellent coating for fabrics – was created accidentally by Patsy Sherman and Sam Smith.  While working on a new kind of rubber for jet aircraft, an assistant dropped a bottle of chemicals they were working with.  After spilling all over their shoes, they noticed that the compound was almost impossible to get off by any means – and a new breed of stain protection was created!

Spencer Silver — Post-it Notes

Post It Notes

One of the smallest things you can think of is a mistake – we all love to ignore or get past our mistakes whenever we can, choosing to move on and put everything behind us.  Dr. Spencer Silver, however, failed in his attempt to create a super-strong adhesive and instead created a mildly-strong, reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive.  Instead of giving up, he was determined to prove the value of his newfound material and offered 3M many examples that they, unfortunately, did not like.  After utilizing the glue for his bookmark, however, he realized that being able to mark things temporarily was incredibly valuable – the Post-it Note was born!

Constantin Fahlberg — Saccharin

This artificial sweetener was created with a biscuit – while attempting to find alternative uses for coal tar, the chemist Constantin Fahlberg noticed after coming home one day that his wife’s biscuits tasted much sweeter than they normally did.  Realizing that the new flavor came from him not washing his hands, he researched the compound and came out with the artificial sweetener soon after.

Percy Spener — The Microwave Oven

This brilliant, ubiquitous device, was essentially created by a chocolate bar!  When Percy Spencer, a Naval Radar specialist, was tinkering around with radio emitters one day, he noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket started to melt rapidly.  After researching the cause, he understood that the microwaves from the dish he was working on was the cause – cue the oven, which revolutionized the world from 1945 on wards!

George Crum – Potato Chips

Potato Chips

When a customer in his restaurant kept complaining about his fried potatoes, Crum decided to teach him a lesson.  Taking an ordinary, everyday potato and slicing it extremely thin, Crum fried the individual slices, slathered them in salt, and delivered the newfound food to his guest.  He was surprised to find out his customer loved them!

Richard James – the Slinky

When Naval engineer Richard James was looking at the springs on board his ship, he was amused when he realized that they immediately righted themselves when they fell over.  After some tinkering with spring size, shape, and weight, he hit upon a fun toy that’s still being sold today.

Notice the small things around you to bolster creativity!

By really taking stock of the things around you and not allowing yourself to be influenced by the attitudes and approval of your peers, you can enable creative thinking that time and time again has shown us to be valuable and worthwhile.  True happiness comes from within, not without, and when you really listen to those creative voices inside of you, you can grow and change for the better.  Not everyone will let you have the personal freedom and creativity that your own mind enables for you, so it’s important to listen to inspiration when it comes.  Look at all the small things in your life in a new light and try to get your inspiration from them!

Mother Theresa often reminded her followers that we can’t do great things – only small things with great love.  Let the small things in your life enable the love within you!

Hi, I`m Amanda Wilson – student and a freelance writer at, I Study Social Media and Digital Strategy. I love to hang out with the similar curious minds to find new original thoughts. I believe that all thoughts were already invented and thought over by someone.

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