Necessity is the mother of innovation

stacked

I saw this photo on FastCompany a few months back and a highly-unoriginal thought hit me, necessity truly is the mother of invention… and thus the of driver innovation.

We make innovation seem complicated. It isn’t.

Innovation is this photo.

I’m guessing some will look at this guy and think “that guy’s stupid, those boxes are going to fall.” They will focus on the risk. I look at the photo and think the guy is a bit smarter than the next delivery person carrying one less box and much smarter than the delivery people carrying a fraction of the number of boxes.

This guy is scaling his service.

Of course he has options, he could spend the entire day and deliver bundles of five packages at a time… or he could strap them ALL to his bike and get deliver everything in one trip. Notice the three-wheels, extra stability… he architected his solution to succeed even at high-levels of service.

Think of the photo as a cellphone… a two-wheeled bike with a single package is an early cellphone and this guys three-wheeler delivering super-high packet-rate is a current phone. This guy has even addressed the powersource-battery challenge; this deliveryman has ratcheted up service levels while keeping the powersource constant… one-person.

What I keep finding myself spinning on is “what was the forcing function that pushed him to this “invention.” My guess is that he’s like most of us. If we have a lot of work to do we try and find ways to automate, systematize it.

That makes me think of another post, If this then that.

My favorite invention stories are ones like. Simple, perhaps even visible tasks… and a person enabling themselves to push traditional thought enough to find a better solution.

 

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