Turning The Dimmer Switch On The Light Bulbs Over Our HeadsPosted: April 20, 2011
Since the day after Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb, depicting a person with a light bulb over their head has been understood as a shorthand way of showing that person had a good idea.
In fact, the day after Edison invented the bulb, his publicist wrote a press release that very few people actually read. The release had a cover photo of the great inventor with a light bulb over his head. People intuitively knew what was in the release from looking at the picture. As a result, most who saw the document never bothered to go past the cover.
The new fluorescent bulbs are a great idea. They are efficient, last longer and are more environmentally friendly than Edison’s creation. As the old bulbs in my home died out, I replaced then with the new style bulbs. I like the light they provide and the savings I am realizing by using them.
But all is not well, my friends.
Future Generations, Stripped Of Ideas
Despite my happiness, there is trouble in my energy efficient paradise. I’ve come to realize that the demise of the traditional light bulb is robbing us of the light bulb over the head thing. That curly que bulb just looks silly over a person’s head. But the old bulb will be as much a mystery to my grandchildren as a telephone with a dial is to my son.
How will the good idea moment be depicted in the future? When a cartoonist or a photographer needs to portray innovation and insight, they will be left without what is now a commonly understood visual expression.
It would be irresponsible for my generation to leave our grandchildren and great-grandchildren without a graphic representation of the good idea moment. It was during my generation that we moved past Edison’s bulb. It was during my generation that we took innovation and its perfect depiction away from the future.
Well, I am not going to sit here and do nothing about it.
A Call To Action
I’m not going to sit here and do nothing about it. At the same time, I realize I am not sharp enough to come up with the idea that will replace the bulb over the head. My call to action isn’t to myself, it is to you.
For inexplicable reasons, very bright, inventive people read Blurt. I am asking all of you to put your minds to this problem. Tell us all what you think would be the best depiction of innovation. You don’t have to draw it, just write a comment and let’s see what comes out of this.
I have confidence in you, Blurt readers. This problem can be solved. I’m sure it will happen here.
I’m looking forward to seeing the light bulbs come on over your heads.