Sleep but not sleep

Fake eyes

On Tuesday evening I went down to London to give a talk on TRIZ at the British Library. I have been working as an associate trainer/facilitator for Oxford Creativity for the last few months and needed a good reason to to familiarise myself with the training materials in a safe way.

Armed with the standard slide pack I researched my own version of the story of Genrich Altshuller, the Russian founder of TRIZ and discovered a really interesting story. While retelling his story to the group I found myself automatically reliving his famous response to day and night interrogation, when charged by Stalin with “inventors sabotage”, which was to draw some eyes on pieces of paper and stick them to his eyelids so that he could get some sleep. “How can I sleep and not sleep at the same time” is the way he phrased this TRIZ style contradiction.

Anyway I rediscovered how story and unusual action makes for the most memorable aspect of a talk. Everyone seemed also to enjoy being tied together with string and forced to consider the situation more thoroughly than a ‘first fit’ method of escape.


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