The Team Approach

I’m writing this post for the first time from my new iPad. This device and Harry Roman’s post about Edison and R&D got me thinking about the process of invention and how its changed over the past century.

During Edison’s era, he made innovation happen in a unique way for that time. Having people of various backgrounds, experience, and expertise became the standard for research and development in industry and you can see the evidence of that in the iPad. While how exactly this product was developed and by whom remains an industry secret and a mystery to most all of us, one thing is certain: I imagine that hundreds of people had a hand in it’s development.

I imagine that the following types of people were involved in creating the iPad:

– Industrial Designers

– Engineers

– Marketing Professionals

– Manufacturers

– Software Developers

– Other industry professionals that had experience with original devices that failed in the market (reminder: iPad wasn’t the first of this concept)

Our young people need to learn about ingenuity is how it is applied by teams regardless of scale or market consciousness of a project. They need first hand experience being a team member as well as a team leader so they can begin to understand the dynamics of team work.

One interesting thing to me is how the credit for innovative products gets passed by the public. People seem to credit Edison alone for the invention of the incandescent light bulb. Yet, today the “inventor” of the iPad is Apple. I wonder if over time we’ll remember the companies as the inventors of things rather than the individuals the way we used to.



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