From Idea to Innovation – Trial and Error

Tony Crabbe, BusyTony Crabbe illustrated how to learn the lessons in one story in his book title busy. A dutch charity, International Child Support (ICS) wanted to fund a school assistance program in Kenya. Like any charity they had limited resources and wanted to make the maximum impact. They selected twenty five schools at random and supplied them with textbooks, and tested the impact, it made little difference. ICS then, ran second experiments, the gave them illustrated flip charts. the results were disappointing. then They gave the schoolchildren tablets to treat intestinal worms. Worm tablets turned out to be great success , booting height, reducing infection and cutting absenteeism.

This idea is similar when we are facing our own future, we don’t know what is the outcome, what we can do is just to try our best. Some people can say, we spend too much to do on ideas that aren’t working. But look at the evidence, success doesn’t result from making the right guesses in the first place. It comes from trying things and then, identifying what works and what doesn’t keep moving and try stuff out. The true and worth investment is the attitude for never give up and keep on trying.


The other story is from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, that he led a team to study ninety – one exceptional individuals, what he found was counter intuitive, that finding solution was easy; the hard part was finding the right question. Once the question had been discovered, ideas flowed freely. it’s similar with Thomas Alfa Edison, the lesson from Edison is that the way to innovate is not through genius and coming up with a single world changing idea, do different things, some stuff will work some stuff won’t. Select the stuff that works and discard the stuff that doesn’t then vary the things again.

Antoniades once pointed out how to be, or the prescriptive to be poetic with inclusivist approach in architecture design process, first to discuss with as many people as you can, second, to get as many view point as you can, and the most important the third, to try as many way of conceptions, options, trial an error.

So when we only have one idea, that means, you are not working hard enough. as Emile-Auguste Chartier Said.” Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.”

[1] Crabbe Tony, Busy.
[2] Antoniades, Poetic of Architecture.

Oleh Realrich Sjarief

Founder of RAW Architecture

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