Innovate Durban is a non-profit company aimed at stimulating innovation within the Durban region. Its focus is to support and promote innovation by creating platforms that will build and develop the innovation ecosystem in Durban.
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Innovate DurbanBlog When One Door Opens

When One Door Opens

I arrived at the beautiful building that houses Innovate Durban, at the spectacular  Port of Durban, for my meeting and brief from the pleasant CEO Aurelia Albert. It was a somewhat inauspicious entrance as I made a few rather fruitless efforts to pull the door open, until I realized with embarrassment that I had to push the door open.

Does one push or pull a door? Put differently do we open a door outward or inwards?

The basic structure of a household doorway is simple:  comprising the door, the frame and hinges. The door is easy to build, install, and disassemble. One can unscrew the hinges to remove door in order to squeeze through over-sized furniture. Needless, for obvious reasons, you do not want to make the hinges accessible to intruders which is why the hinge mechanism needs to be positioned inside the house. With a standard design, this means the door will open inward.

So why do some places have doors which open outward? In public buildings it is a safety features. In an emergency, such as a fire, an agitated crowd of people rushes to an exit, rendering it is impossible for somebody to open the door inward because the force of the panic-stricken mob pushing up against the door, leaves little room for it to open. So outwards it is, which in concert supports the force of the mob. This, by the way, is why emergency exits are built with long handle panic bars instead of traditional door knobs or levers. This way even the most out-of-control mob should be able to escape.

My builder however informs me that if a door opens outwards particularly the exterior doors, it runs the risk of being exposed to the elements, such as wind. In some locations where land space is at a premium allowing the door to open outwards gave you a little bit more room in your living area, which I worked out to be over a square metre. In the Northern Hemisphere a further motivation to open outwards is the reality that opening doors inwards during cold winters would let snow into the building.

The lecturer in me always give my readers homework. Cars have a fascinating variety of doors. I urge the reader to Wiki (here) or Google “Type of car doors”. And the musically inclined may well want to explore “The Doors” was an awesome trail blazing group of the 60’s which I only discovered in the 90’s. Watch this truly futuristic room here.

Where else is space is premium? Consider submarines and space craft – here sliding doors save space on the inside as well as the outside. Sliding doors, offer incredible space saving, offer better flow, safety, and are visually appealing. Can we look at sliding doors in informal settlements, were space is a supreme challenge?

When confronted with a challenge – examine the words that comprise the challenge. Decompose the words, look at it upside down, inside out. Do the challenge words portray an imagery which can act as a unifier or a coagulator?  Do these words make a story or a narrative that one can use to engage the customer, or regale an audience? Look at the antonym (opposite) of the word, do they inspire any thought? Consider the word “space” or the lack of it. A bottle full of stones is superficially full. Look at this short video, here, to see how ones notion can be changed by looking at life and its priorities differently.

Speaking of opening door, I invite you to a talk by Mark Pougnet,  a Durbanite and graduate now living in Denver, USA. Mark has led seven different Tech companies over the last 25 years and will share the challenges of building a successful Tech company. He now has his own consulting company, sits on Boards and does mentoring at the Galvanize incubator and at the University of Denver.

Josephy Cambell is eloquent “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” The creative door is locked within in your mind. You and only you have the combination. I look forward to helping you pick this lock towards your creativity in the ensuing months.

Author: Dr Surendra Thakur