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Visual chaos? Welcome to David Eyman’s office

The Farmer School of Business’ associate lecturer is on a path to collect a million ideas

David Eyman in his office with 100s of post-it notes taped to the walls
David Eyman in his office with hundreds of ideas
Campus Life

Visual chaos? Welcome to David Eyman’s office

David Eyman in his office with hundreds of ideas

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When you walk into David Eyman’s office, it’s a bit of a visual experience. Half of the Entrepreneurship and First-Year Integrated Core (FYIC) associate lecturer’s office space is coated with Post-It notes of various colors, each with an idea or notion jotted down on it.

Why? It’s probably easier to let Eyman explain it.

“I was teaching a summer class, and one day, the students came back to the classroom from lunch early and I said to them, ‘How about if you take all of these Post-It notes down off the walls and take them to my office and hang them on the walls in my office?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, let's do that!’ And they came in and they did it, surrounding the whole office at the time.”

He continued, “That started us on this path to collect a million ideas. I probably have close to half a million now, but I'm still in the market for more of them. They're all ideas on Post-Its.”

Eyman has boxes and bags of notes in his office, not just on the walls. He has even more at home, all of which will be used for … something. He says he’ll brainstorm later on what to do with all the notes.

“I like being in the presence of an idea,” Eyman said. “But what happens when you're in the presence of a lot of ideas and then a whole lot of ideas? What I love here is you can pick any two ideas and put them together and create new ideas out of those two ideas. It's like this fractal of ever-expanding exponential ideation. And I love that. I like being in the presence of it. It's like visual chaos. But it makes perfect sense because it's kind of symbolic of what happens in our brains when we have that much chaos, that there's so many things to choose from and connect. And those connections are creativity.”

As an FYIC lecturer, Eyman has a lot of students who are just starting their college careers, which means his office is yet another new experience for them.

“Students come in for the first time and they're kind of awed by this because they're not used to it,” Eyman said. “I love being in the presence of them making this transition from the life of doing exactly what they're told, thinking that everything has one answer and then all of a sudden they get in this other world and they're like, ‘Hey, this is enlightenment.’ It's eye-opening to realize that business doesn't have a right answer — nothing in business has a right answer. There's only possibility. And I love that they make that shift from expectation to possibility, and it leaves them in awe of recognizing that the world is filled with things that they can take on.”

But, he admits, that visual chaos can be hard for some people to handle at first.

“So they have to kind of step back for a second, get their composure, and then come back into that world of many things all at once,” Eyman said. “They need a sort of order and stepping into it, but once they get stepped into it, everybody's fine.”