Friday, October 07, 2005

Facing the Critics: Learning from Our Errors

If you can't lick 'em, join 'em.

The Economist article below also reminded us of a story James Adams told in Conceptual Blockbusting. He knew of a very successful engineer who solved problems in an unconventional way. He usually started out with a really lousy prototype. Something just couldn't possibly work, but then he took it around the department and listened to everyone's scathing remarks. Then he went back to work alone, and lo and behold, he had a great product at the end. It seemed like he was cheating a bit, but he was just very resourceful about getting good ideas.

From the article linked below: "According to Mr Von Hippel, in the past firms have mostly resisted customer innovation or not known what to do with it. American farmers were lobbying manufacturers to make cars with detachable back seats as early as 1909. It took Detroit more than a decade to “invent” the pick-up truck. Even now, carmakers respond to customer modifications such as performance-exhaust systems by voiding the warranty. Within three weeks of launching “Mindstorms”, a build-it-yourself robot development system, in 1997, Lego was facing around 1,000 hackers who had downloaded its operating system, vastly improved it, and posted their work freely online. After a long stunned silence, Lego appears to have accepted the merits of this community's work: programs written in hacker language may now be uploaded to the Mindstorms website, for example."

This is how your brain looks when you find out whether your answers are right or wrong. The Creative Consumer
Finding Out About Our Errors - fMRI

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