The Benefits of Prototyping: Lessons from the Wright Brothers

There are not many examples which show the power of prototyping that are as dramatic as that of the Wright brothers’. On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made history when they flew the first ever powered and controllable airplane. Their journey to this pioneering moment was a long, arduous, and testing one. And it is littered with the sketches and remains of countless prototypes, many of which do not even resemble what we view today as a typical airplane.

An early sketch of a prototype by Orville Wright

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Want to Change the World? Join a Corporation

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(This article first appeared on Fast Company Leadership Now on Feb 11, 2014)

If you want to change the world, join a large corporation.

It’s a bold statement, but one which Scott Anthony, Managing Principal at innovation consulting firm, Innosight, was not shy to make during a recent keynote address at the Creative Innovation Conference.

To begin to try to understand how large corporations are uniquely positioned to tackle and solve society’s biggest problems, Anthony says, we must first understand where we’ve come from.

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Of Drones, Creativity, and Ideas

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There has been a lot of talk about drones in the media. For a long time, it seemed to be all negative press. Drones were, for the vast majority of the part, exclusively linked to controversial US military operations in Pakistan, sometimes with supposed success, but many times with public outcry for their tragic humanitarian side-effects.

It was only towards the end of 2013 did the mainstream public see a friendlier alternative to the use of drones. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, went on the air to claim that the world’s largest online retailer is looking into using drones for drop-shipping commercial deliveries. PR stunt or not, the news was enough to cause an internet frenzy. Was it technologically feasible? What about regulations? And privacy? And safety? How heavy can the packages be? And what kind of futuristic age are we living in, anyway? And then, more recently, Facebook was reported to be acquiring a drone maker in order to try to provide developing communities internet connectivity.

In my last blog-post I talked about the need to produce LOTS of ideas in order to build towards breakthroughs. In this post, I will show you one technique that can help you come up with ideas about practically anything. For demonstration purposes, I will use them in the context of drones. Now, remember, the ideas that are generated will probably not amount to much by themselves. Rather, they should provide you the building blocks towards more compelling ideas.

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