'Hell, There Are No Rules Here -- We’re Trying To Accomplish Something'

Creativity isn't an exact science, and sometimes you have to break the rules to come up with innovative solutions. Thomas Edison knew that. In his lab, he didn't bother with strict rules or regulations.

Picture: Kevin Galens/Flickr

When a new worker came in to work for Edison, he asked Edison what rules he should follow. The new workers was a bit surprised by Edison's response:

I approached him in a humble spirit: “Mr. Edison, please tell me what laboratory rules you want me to observe.” And right then and there I got my first surprise. He spat in the middle of the floor and yelled out,

“Hell! there ain’t no rules around here! We are tryin’ to accomplish somep’n!”

Of course, the general rule of Edison's lab was if Thomas Edison was working, so were you. But the point is that rules and boundaries often block innovation. Sometimes, you just have to let them go to really get something done.

Accomplish Something [Swissmiss]


    In the workplace these rules are often called Labour Laws and employers break 'em all the time in the name of productivity

    The rules you're talking about (and Edison was obviously joking about) could more accurately be called "constraint". Constraints, by nature, constraint solutions. If you're embarking on something purely creative (such as writing a story, painting, etc) you should experiment, and while experimenting, you should not impose any constraints (and attempt to get around the ones the universe imposes). On the other hand, when you're trying to solve something (such as writing a computer program, curing cancer, etc), you certainly do need to constrain you work. If you don't, you're just as likely to draw a picture of a purple dinosaur, as invent the light bulb.

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