How Henry Ford developed mass-production is a fascinating story. It's also one that I've had backwards all my life: I believed that Ford was able to reduce car prices for a mass market because of his genius in perfecting mass-production assembly lines.
Actually, the opposite is true. Ford's low prices forced development of mass-production to meet the demand. Hear what Ford, himself, said about it:
Toy-maker Fisher-Price is, in my opinion, the classic example of a company that develops new products the right way. Its customers, young kids, are said to be the most finicky of all consumers.
Fisher-Price sends its people into homes and playrooms. They want to see what play areas look like. What’s in them. How existing toys are being used. They look particularly for things that moms have adapted for children’s play. Necessity is the mother of invention, they agree, and moms are very inventive.
The world has been celebrating the life of Steve Jobs. At the same time, a story popped up in Harvard Business Review that’s worth thinking about in the context of Mr. Jobs. It’s about the myth of innovation.
The point of the article is that we celebrate great innovators such as Jobs and Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton; all great discoverers, inventors and innovators. And, generally, we believe in that ah-hah moment of the innovator.