Dilbert - first cartoon

With 2,695 shows from 47 countries in 279 venues, beware that going to the Edinburgh Fringe is a bit of a crap shot. If you get lucky, you uncover some real unsung gems. But if the show producers get lucky, then they might be on to something ‘craptastic.’

That’s the genius term by Scott Adams for an ‘crappy’ idea that serves as the seed, catalyst or scaffolding for a subsequent better idea.

  • “I like to think that the bad ideas I describe in this blog might someday inspire one of you to come up with actual good ideas. That’s how ideas evolve; you start with bad ones then tweak them. If I may borrow and modify a quote from Isaac Newton: If you can see further it is only because you’re standing on the pile of manure I so generously provided. Bad ideas are the raw materials for good ideas. I use bad ideas as the basis for writing comics too. Every Dilbert comic that made someone chortle started out as a bad idea that I tweaked and poked and molded into something that I wouldn’t have expected at the start. Sometimes the end product retains the germ of the original idea, sometimes it drifts into something entirely different. One of the big secrets to creativity is that you have to start walking before you decide where you’re going. It’s opposite of how you’re raised to think.”


Many of the shows at the Fringe use the event as a platform for just that sort of field test.  Some emerge with glowing reviews.  Others go back to the drawing board for something that eventually does shine.

The cartoon above was Scott’s very first which launched both improvements to an iconic status of humorous social commentary in the workplace fed on reader feedback.