My wife works at a place called Sterling Brands. Recently, the company next door, a fashion merchandizer, left some mannequins by the freight elevator.
In no time at all, Sterling people had “liberated” the mannequins, spirited them into the office and pressed them into service. They dressed them, reassembled them, animated them, reassigned their identities, and generally made them live. The office bloomed with good ideas.
CLICK HERE for the way I wrote this up for the Harbard Business Review Blog.
These mannequins worked as a kind of culturematic for Sterling. They served as a spontaneous experiment. No one could say ahead of time what people would do with these mannequins or the kinds of interactions and provocations they would create. But stuff happened. Creativity flowed. The intellectual and the social capital of the firm grew. The mannequins proved amazingly productive of meaning…considering the fact they just stand there.