Value in Every Idea

World Philosophy

By Neill Hunt

The trial and error process is not only tedious, but also very high-risk. However, it is an uncertainty organisations must gamble on in order to prosper. In this article, the author highlights the important factors that contribute to the success of research and development, namely: collaboration, innovation, creativity, and a fresh perspective.

Research and development isn’t always about getting it right. It’s easy to forget that you aren’t just looking for the right solution to a problem, but also ruling out those that don’t work. It is this combined knowledge that will allow you to find the ultimate solution.

Never has this been more apparent than during NASA’s Apollo missions and race to the moon. From the moment that President Kennedy announced his intention to see Americans land on the moon until the Eagle landed in July 1969, thousands of scientists and inventors worked tirelessly to design a spacecraft capable of getting to the moon and back. During this exhausting process, which we’ve been reminded of this year thanks to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, many ideas were tried, tested and then abandoned.

Writer Charles Fishman explains: “When [President] Kennedy said, ‘Let’s go to the moon,’ it was simply impossible. The tools to do it did not exist. In eight years, NASA and the 400,000 people working for NASA literally invented the rocket, the spaceship that could land on the moon, the space suits. All of that had to be invented from scratch.”

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About the Author

Neill Hunt was appointed to Executive Director, Innovation at Element Six in September 2018. He is responsible for new product development, long-term R&D, engineering development, applications testing and support, and intellectual property.

Neill joined Element Six in 2013 as head of corporate strategy before assuming senior management roles in R&D. Prior to joining Element Six, Neill was a strategy consultant at Bain & Company and a corporate strategist at Equinor. He has a BA from Middlebury College and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, where he was an Edward Tuck Scholar. In-between he served as an infantry officer in the British Army.


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