Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Columbus Egg

Italian historian and traveler Girolamo Benzoni, in his book published in 1565, Story of the New World, recounts how when Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after discovering the "New World", his cause célèbre was called into question.

Upon his return, during one of what must have been many dinner parties with the Spanish dignitaries and noblemen clamouring to hear him recount the adventure, one rather blasé Spanish noble stood up and said: 'Sir Christopher, even if your lordship had not discovered the Indies, there would have been, here in Spain, which is a country abundant with great men knowledgeable in cosmography and literature, one who would have started a similar adventure with the same result.'

Columbus, in a dignified manner, responded simply by asking that a whole egg be brought to him.

He placed the egg on the table, and said:
'My lords, I will lay a wager with any of you that you are unable to make this egg stand on its end like I will do without any kind of help or aid.'
The Spanish nobles, suckers for an after dinner party trick, passed around the egg, and without success tried to balance it on its end.
When the egg came back to Columbus he gently tapped the small end of the egg on the table, breaking in the shell slightly, and with this, stood the egg on its end.
All those in attendance were confounded.
And all those in attendance knew what he was inferring:
-that once the feat has been done, anyone can do it.

From this point forward, or at least as the story goes, the term- "The Egg of Columbus" refers to: a brilliant idea or discovery which seems easy after the fact.

And with this story as inspiration, we now open at DMS Architects- our back office.

"The Back Office" will be a depository for those discoveries, often multidisciplinary, that inspire and promote ingenious new questions, and inspire and promote ingenious new solutions, which in turn, will enhance our imagination, our production, our sensitivity, our depth, and our understanding of the many facets that contribute to the built world around us.

Granted, not all of these eggs will hatch. Some will hatch chickens. But some may lead to the discovery of a New World. And it's always easy... after you see how it's done.

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