metacool Thought of the Day


"When you're making something of high quality, you have to polish it a certain number of times.  This is actually a number of trial and errors.  When you think about how much you can polish something in a four-year development period, you're talking about how many times you can do trial and error and then speed becomes the defining factor.  When you all share that speed as a team, you can polish a car like never before.  It's that simple, really."
                                – Kazutoshi Mizuno, Chief Vehicle Engineer, Nissan GT-R

I love this insight of Mizuno's, because it speaks to one of the fundamental aspects of design thinking as it  relates to the process of innovation: iterate, iterate, iterate.  I often relate "business by design" to "business as usual" by using a sporting analogy:  business as usual is about efficiency and accuracy, about swimming as fast a race as one can.  And there's a time and a place for that.  Business by design, in contrast, would be a swim race where you where rewarded based on the number of laps you could get in within a certain amount of time.  You want to do lap after lap, because with each stroke through the water, you gain the opportunity to learn something new, to try a different approach.  The sum of all those small learnings and insights — together with the occasional big leap — is what ends up being called innovative behavior.

But I like Mizuno's notion of polishing more than I do that of laps.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Keep trying for perfection even though you know it will never come in a full sense, but with each try some new learning emerges.

So how quickly can you polish and iterate?

quote source: Gran Turismo TV, "The GT-R Legend Inside Story"

2 thoughts on “metacool Thought of the Day

  1. This post is a great reminder of the design process. I can often get frustrated with iterating, asking…”I mean, how many times do we have to do this!?” But, you’re right: iteration only takes us that much closer to a better idea. a better solution. a better way.
    And hey, if the “final” product doesn’t really turn out so hot, at least you have a nice new shiny paperweight. ha!

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