Today we want to call your attention to a classic and much beloved toy: the Slinky. 


Rewire your brain #ideastogo #slinky

A post shared by Ideas To Go (@ideastogoinc) on

According to the National Toy Hall of Fame, the invention of the Slinky was an accident:

In 1943, naval engineer Richard James was working to create springs that could support sensitive ship equipment and keep it steady at sea. James accidentally knocked a sample spring from a shelf, and watched as it "stepped" from a stack of books, to a tabletop, to the floor, where it re-coiled and stood upright.

Thinking that it would make a good toy, James and his wife Betty worked to perfect the wire coil, founded James Industries with a $500 loan, and demonstrated the Slinky's properties in Gimbels Department Store in Philadelphia. The first 400 units sold within 90 minutes, and the Slinky has been around ever since.

Yet beyond the undeniable fun of the Slinky as a toy, there's a powerful metaphor for creativity.

Think about it: it flexes, it bends, it adapts to new surroundings. And it’s hard-wired for momentum. We’re not just talking about the Slinky—we’re also talking about your brain. And while your brain may be hard-wired with Cognitive Biases that make it hard to innovate, it also holds great potential for flexibility, movement and (yes!) fun.

4 Quick Facts about Cognitive Biases:

  • They’re mental shortcuts hard-wired into our brains.
  • They shape our judgement.
  • They’re universal.
  • They make innovation hard.

To learn more about how Ideas To Go can help you rewire your brain to think like a Slinky, check out our Behavioral Innovation™ Approach for overcoming Cognitive Biases.


Katie Franke

Katie Franke is a Marketing Communications Specialist and Concept Writer at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.