I love taking things apart. It’s how I understand things. Printers, computers, phones, cameras–it feels wonderfully tactile to pull the lid off something and poke about its contents.

Of course where there’s excitement, there’s fear also. There’s this inflexion point (remarkably easy to reach when I was younger), at which it dawns on you: “I don’t know how to put it back.”

But you only become good at fixing things by breaking them. It’s when you really have to think–what makes sense here? and what doesn’t?–that you develop a knack for puzzling things out.

In the Army, I deconstructed assumptions about how our Command and Control systems worked so we could sustain our mission, even when equipment broke down. When you know how the darn thing is built, creative solutions emerge.

Taking things apart is essential to making them work. That’s why I do it every day.

Written for Q3 of 2020 SUTD application – Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few Describe how you express your creative side.