11/16/12: Weekend Imagination Igniters:Yo-yos and more

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For most of us, the weekend is less agenda-driven and more relaxed than our usual weekday. You're more likely to slip into that state of relaxed alertness that psychologists call "alpha." That's when you're most likely to have creative thoughts.

Here's a question that I've asked several people this week. "What do the yo-yo, Good Humor Ice Cream, and parking meters have in common?"

The answer is one man, Donald F. Duncan. Duncan founded the Good Humor Company and invented the Duncan Parking Meter which is still manufactured by the Duncan Solutions Company. He's often credited with inventing the yo-yo, but that's not accurate.

No one knows who actually invented the yo-yo because it shows up in Ancient Greece and Egypt and similar toys with many different names have existed down the ages. Duncan was involved in selling yo-yos through his Duncan Toy Company in 1930, when Pedro Flores came calling.

Flores was a Filipino immigrant who made some changes to improve the yo-yos he had played with as a boy in the Philippines. "Yo-yo" is Tagalog for "come-come." Duncan bought out Flores' company and applied savvy promotion and marketing to selling the toy.

This story has set my thinking running down several paths. Here are the questions that stated one of them.

How many people do you know for one thing, but who have skills and accomplishments in several others?

What talents and skills and delights are we missing in the people around us?

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