there is an infinite amount of ways to look at and solve a problem. the range of solutions can range from straightforward and simple to some more akin to Rube Goldberg on steroids. usually, there is a great deal of leeway and breadth in the spectrum to get the perfect idea where form and function come together and create a solution that you really can’t water down, alter, change, or come up with a better solution. mind you, in the world of complexity, such solutions are really rare and unique, yet, they appear to be so simple.
while you might have a flash of the idea in a Nanosecond in a vision in your mind, getting that solution into paper, computer models, prototypes, manufacturing, the market and having it be successful is not such a simple and easy proposition. it takes time, effort, and I will say this, usually a whole lot of failures and attempts for alternative ideas and solutions by asking “what if?” (btw- the idea of eureka moment is rare and does happen, but the truth is it usually is because of weeks, months, years of work before that to unlock the idea)
this is the part of idea creation I so love. what I learned new ideas is unlike what I noticed in a lot of the world where people thinking looking out and seeing what everyone else is doing and then thinking – we simply reversed the issue and asked the question, “what does the user want and need?” while linear progressions are nice, easy, and have a flow to them, I have been in enough pitch meetings where each group is pitching basically the exact same idea, which is a line extension to what is out there – seems to chase a trend.
to do the later, you have to sit in a space and ask a lot of questions, and look at the problem from all around it, from different industries, crossovers, historical uses and another eye on what bleeding and cutting-edge technologies might be ready, and in a simplistic way, allow for common sense and ease of use to fit in.
the simplification area amazes me when you go from a working idea/concept to get to WYSIWYG prototype, and then you bring in the industrial engineers and say, “how can we make this simpler, fewer parts, cheaper costs?”
while it is easy to get something to work once and prove it in a lab if you just throw out the idea that you are really smart and think you know something – that is when you will come to a different level of product and solution levels. I know many really smart, brilliant, super genius folks that have amazing gifts and talents. I also know many people without any formal education that are brilliant in common sense and the fastest or easiest way to do something.
what I am noticing in the controlled environment agriculture and the coming age of robotics and AI for humans is there is a whole lot of hype and bruhaha from folks thinking all this is “new and revolutionary!” it isn’t really new to me, as I wager through man’s time on earth someone was thinking about the same issue. I wager Leonardo da Vinci did, but he also knew that the technology or the tools to create it, simply were not there. today, the tools are there in the government sector, the private sector will soon have them (if they already don’t) and what is so cool and possibly scary is that these same amazing tools will be at the disposal of people just like you and me.
it truly makes my brain get a smile upon it thinking about what is and will be possible for human and the planet. it is simply a choice of how humanity wishes to use it, and what purposes.
to get to this new level, if you are limiting yourself to linear progression and the same way of thinking and you believe you really are super smart. you might want to take a step back and look at yourself. I still remember being humbled by the guy in Nashville who asked where I got my ideas from and I went through what I have to laugh now with a very articulate, intelligent and educated pathway to how “smart” I was (yes, that was sarcasm)
when I asked him the same question, he simply pointed to the starlit sky and said, “from him.”
and perhaps for as witty, smart, intelligent, and brilliant of a toolmaker as man can be. highly adaptable, mailable, changeable, educatable…the biggest issue with new ideas is not so much the costs and the resources to get something new into the market. but there is the reality that most new ideas, actually the vast majority of them – fail. yes, most ideas fail.
so why do humans keep trying when they know most things will fail? perhaps it is how you learn. I always say about learning that you learn the quickest by your mistakes. if you have your heart and your own skin in the game – you think a bit differently than someone with an idea and other people’s money. you have a vested interest in the outcome of the work.
that is why when I hear all the super smart, educated, and gifted minds that are out there – and there is a lot of them. the biggest issue with innovation and change probably has more to do not with “can this be done?” “what if we…” or “how about we try…” are not the problems…
…it has to do with human ego and pride.
I will close with a joke a designer friend sent me once about good ideas and the reality of humans in the process.
q: “how do you destroy a great design or idea?”
a: “send it to a committee.”
there is some wisdom in the joke that anyone that has watched the alterations and changed in the process notices. call it the inability to see big, shift to small, back and forth, see altering perspectives and looking at different ways of thinking and processing. the only thing with constraints to most problems is simple naturally occurring laws, like gravity, material strength, power and resource demands, efficiency…etc.
the best example I have of this is hearing a mix that a friend did from one of rod Stewarts guitar players who is a bluesman. I swear you felt you are live in the room with the musicians. so the label sent it to Europe for mastering….it came back and when I heard it I asked, “where did all the life in the song go?”
“the guy that mastered it is better known for classical music.”
this is an example of what happens when you think you know it all, and don’t perpetually learn and fail each day to move forward and grow. it is why I think there should be a lifelong educational program for people. it is also why we really don’t look outside for ideas and sit in a room and play with “what if” more than looking at who is doing what and trying to copy it. there are plenty of folks out there with classical music background trying to master live blues…most are thinking, “this is so great. look what we did”
there are a few folks asking, “so where is the life in it?”
thankfully, there are still a bunch of folks asking that same question. I think most are motivated not by the money, fame, and accolades, but rather the passion for finding a solution to problems.
never be afraid to fail. but it is much less expensive and productive to fail in the brainstorm and early idea stage than getting out to the end with the “one” way and going, “oh dear, uhm….we have a problem. why didn’t we think about…”
it will never cease to amaze you how humans will use or do something. it is like people knowing the most creative time of the day is upon waking from sleep - and how few take some time to do it.