Insights, they’re the seeds of new groundbreaking ideas. I was watching the BBC documentary on the life of autistic celebrity Temple Grandin and was intrigued at how her hug machine invention was born out of an unlikely insight from cow vaccination: the squeeze chute which holds the cow in place so that it can be vaccinated made some cows more relaxed.
As a young child, Grandin realized she would seek out deep pressure stimulation, but hugs and being held over-stimulated her. The idea for the hug machine was devised during a visit to her aunt’s Arizona ranch, where she noted the way cattle were vaccinated while confined in a squeeze chute, and how some of the cattle immediately calmed down after pressure was administered. She realized the deep pressure from the chute had a calming effect, and decided that might well settle down her own hypersensitivity.
As an autistic person, Mrs. Temple’s main emotion is fear. So she’ll mainly be looking at things that help her cope with that fear, and the squeeze chute was it. This also helps understand how to look for insights, you start with a problem in mind and you focus like a laser beam to find a insight in unlikely places.
In the video below you can see what I’m talking about but if you haven’t seen the documentary I encourage you to watch it completely.
The Devil is in the details.