My “Most” Innovative Thing Ever Produced

In the early 2000’s I worked for a kitchenwares company and invented a toaster design. I say invented because my company patented my design (for themselves) though I’m pretty sure they never did anything with it. I don’t think I can put a finger on my “most innovative” thing I ever made, though this felt like an innovative thing for me, and meets the “socially useful” definition of innovative instead of creative (whereas I’ve had many creative creativities!)

My earliest iteration of the toaster design would have (if physically produced) simply opened below when done to allow the toast to automatically slide out onto a plate, paper towel, etc. instead of popping up. I don’t recall what purpose I proposed that it would have served. But it was pretty dang cool, and matched a need our company had: unique new kitchenware designs, instead of the same old stale products. Other designs I created (pictured below) had a functionality where the toaster swiveled to release the toast – which, looking back, seems foolish because in my opinion these versions were much work for little gain. My designs stemmed from my artistic tendencies – I love drawing and it was fun for me to doodle and imagine new things on paper. I loved letting my mind wander to think of new things. This was reward enough, but my motivation was reinforced by the recognition I got for it (always the case for my drawings, more so in a professional job). This made it a sort of individualistic and socially creative endeavor: I mostly worked alone, but fed on the positive feedback of others to motivate me. And motivation is tied closely to creativity.

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