Hello everyone, Gavin Lira here. I wanted to share some thoughts sparked by a quote that has been rattling around in my head lately. I’m sure many of you have heard it before: Henry Ford, the American industrialist, once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” There’s a lot to unpack in these few words, and I believe they hold a significant truth about innovation, feedback, and problem-solving.
Let’s start with the quote’s premise. When Ford famously quipped about faster horses, he was touching on the common habit of people envisioning improvements within the framework of what they already know. It’s a human tendency, after all, to imagine the future based on the past and the present. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Our experience is what shapes our perspective.
However, Ford’s insight here goes beyond this surface-level understanding. He highlights the importance of recognizing the underlying problem people are trying to solve rather than getting caught up in their immediate solutions. It’s not so much about the specifics of what they’re asking for, but the challenge they’re aiming to overcome.
In Ford’s time, people wanted to move from point A to point B more quickly. The horse, the primary mode of transportation back then, was the framework within which they sought improvement. They desired faster horses, but what they actually needed was a more efficient means of transportation. Ford didn’t stop at their immediate request for speedier equines. Instead, he delved deeper to understand the core problem – the need for better, faster transportation – and came up with an innovative solution: the automobile.
And this is where the real magic happens in problem-solving and innovation. It’s about finding the best answer to a problem, even if it’s not the answer people initially think they want. Because sometimes, people don’t know what the ideal solution looks like until they experience it.
Imagine, if you will, the moment someone who yearned for a faster horse first sat in a car and put their foot on the gas pedal. It must have been an eye-opening realization. Suddenly, the desire for a faster horse felt quaint compared to the power and efficiency of an automobile.
That’s the potential power we all hold when we choose to look beyond the immediately obvious and dig deeper into the heart of the problem. It allows us to create solutions that people may not even know they need until they experience them.
Nowadays, millions and millions of cars are produced each year in America alone, which is a testament to Ford’s understanding of human needs and problem-solving skills. But remember, it all started with the recognition of an underlying problem and the willingness to think outside the box.
The lesson here isn’t about disregarding what people say they want. It’s about listening attentively to their needs and understanding the problems they’re trying to solve. Feedback is valuable, but we must have the wisdom to decipher the real issues behind the words and the courage to invent bold solutions that might be initially unimaginable.
So next time you’re faced with a problem, whether it’s in your personal life or in a business context, I encourage you to think of the ‘faster horse.’ What is the real issue you’re trying to solve? How can you look beyond the immediately apparent solution to create something truly revolutionary?
This is Gavin Lira, urging you to dig deeper, innovate, and solve problems in ways that can change the world.