Please pick up the nearest pen, any pen will do, and ask yourself, “How could I create a new pen that will meet my needs in the next five years?” Take a few moments. Draw what your new pen would look like. How far did you push the device beyond what a moment ago you considered just any pen?

On the second meeting of my class during the semester, I ask the same of my students. I walk in, set a pen on my desk, and say, “This pen no longer meets my needs. Get into groups of four people each and create a new pen for me, one that has multiple functionalities and will meet my needs in the next five years.” Initially, the students just stare at me, this being only our second class. Then I bark, “You are in a ...

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