Combining Ideas

I watched Hulk this weekend. I thought it was really well done. I have always been a fan of comics and still have the collection from my childhood. I also think Ang Lee has done the best job of creating the comic book feel in the Marvel-based movies.

I had the chance to watch the second disk with all of the extras. There was an interview with Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee. He said the idea for Hulk came from two timeless characters – Frankenstein and Dr. Jackyl/Mr. Hyde. He felt Frankenstein had always gotten a bad rap and that he was just a good guy misunderstood. The only reason he ever really got angry was because all of those crazy villagers were chasing him around. The attraction to Jackyl and Hyde was the metamorphosis from man to monster. Lee combined the two and the Hulk was born.

I love the story for its combining of ideas to create another idea. I think there is a lot of power in that concept. An often quoted, generic piece of business advice is “Look outside your industry for inspiration”. Stephen Zades and Jane Stephens in Mad Dogs, Dreamers and Sages take it one step further:

…[O]ur greatest breakthroughs were being fueled by ideas that came primarily from insights across non-business disciplines of knowledge: psychology, science, politics, poetry, music, art, architecture, religion, philosophy. These are voices largely unheeded in the business world. I wondered if there was a way to reinvision business toward the possibility of such a confluence of diverse thinking and experience.

Can you think of some good examples of this?

2 thoughts on “Combining Ideas

  1. I rented Hulk two weeks ago. I found it humorless and nearly emotionless, which made it seem long. Last weekend I watched (for the umpteenth time) Edward Scissorhands–also a tale of an mis-understood character, but much much better done.

    I will agree with you that Hulk captured many of the elements of a comic. But I think Ang Lee used this ‘outside’ influence too much, without thinking how it would affect the movie. (To me the Hulk movie just seemed way to long.)

    So, as the devil’s advocate, I would suggest that outside inspirations have to be watched for their effect on the final creation. My website’s product catalog is distinctly different than our print catalog for a reason.

  2. Example: the rapidly converging fields of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Pscychology and Genetic programming (name of the last one might be different).

    This is explained in the forward to PREY by Michael Crichton (sp?)

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