I spend a lot of time trying out new ideas to incorporate into my balloon business, as well as everyday life, whether it be creating new sculptures, trying new techniques or simply looking around at how things can be done.
When I am actively problem solving, I consider the problem from different perspectives. I typically begin my problem solving by starting with the end in mind.
I visualize the end result of what I want to accomplish, and then over a number of hours, days, weeks, I observe the world around me to see if I can make a connection with something that fits into the problem I am trying to solve.
For example, for one of my competition costumes I needed a way to shoot balloons out of a balloon gun. I was not able to find any references on the internet and had to invent a solution. I spent a number of hours at different toy stores, investigating toys that projected things, all the while visualizing the end result. I purchased a number of different toy guns and projectile shooting toys, and discovered a particular style of NERF gun that had a barrel opening that would perfectly fit a shortened skinny 160 balloon inside. But – the balloon by itself was too light to fly very far. The solution was to tape one of the included foam darts to the tip of the balloon, so the skinny 160 balloon was sticking out the barrel. When the NERF toy gun shot the dart out, I discovered the weight of the moving dart actually flipped the 160 balloon around 180 degrees in mid-air, I was able to shoot the balloon over 25 feet! I think I quite surprised the costume judges.