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John Bielenberg is interested in the idea that by thinking wrong one can generate ideas that could make positive changes in the world. “Thinking wrong” is all about challenging our own orthodoxies – avoiding heuristic biases or learned behaviour: the linear, pre-determined pathways in our brains that Bielenberg maintains inhibit true innovation and creative exploration. By thinking wrong, or outside of our normal thought processes, Bielenberg suggests that more innovative ideas and creative strategies will arise.
In this talk from Design Indaba Conference 2012, the designer and social activist speaks about various projects he has undertaken using this premise to bring about positive change in the world. “Project M” and “Common Pitch” both encourage young creatives to design and prototype new social adventures that better the welfare of many. Bielenberg has also worked on many projects that have served to reconnect communities, bringing them together over shared environments or projects. Pie Lab is one such endeavour, a pie and coffee shop in Greensboro, Alabama, which ultimately succeeded in breaking racial boundaries and diminishing racial tension in the area. Across the road, Alabamboo Bike Lab created bicycles out of bamboo to bring affordable transportation and employment opportunities to the area.
Read an interview between Bielenberg and Design Indaba about his various projects here.