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Understand how you could make it better. Of course, this could just seem like you are being difficult, so it is worth perhaps also worth adding that you understand that there is no obvious answer, but that it is still worth asking the question. Da Vinci was not just a smart thinker, he had a bias to action, to making things happen.

Having an idea, creating a hypothesis, proposing a theory is one thing, but proving it is another. Scientific method is all about experimentation and continually testing to prove that the proposal is valid, or through mistakes to learn how to create a better solution. Whilst much of his interpretation was intuitive, he saw analysis as supporting hypothesis, needing to make a leap of faith before proving it. He supported his proofs with repeated experimentation, and only after such rigour did he trust hi conclusions.

He also found that new ideas often arose through deeper analysis and testing, and often took him closer to the origins of phenomena. Leonardo designed incredibly sophisticated machines — beyond anything that had been articulated before. However his focus was not on the invention, but on the mechanical engineering which solved the problems.

His creative engineering created a new world of weights and forces, levers and pulleys, cogs and wheels. From this he created everything thing from a loom to spin wool to clocks that kept time.

Biography of Leonardo Da Vinci

His understanding of propulsion led to the first designs for a bicycle, his insight into water displacement allowed him to imagine what a submarine could do. Of course, such words did not exist at the time, they were more about solving problems, or enabling new possibilities. His visions of flight were his most ambitious, fundamentally challenging what people at the time dreamed was possible.

Examining motion through air, Leonardo studied the flight of birds to understand how their delicate structures were able to resist the force of gravity, and to soar high in the sky. He marvelled at the natural technology of wings and considered how he could replicate it. He stretched his study of aerodynamics to understand not only the movement of objects in flight, but the movement of air as it passed by the object.

11 predictions from Leonardo da Vinci that actually came true

By addressing the problem in reverse he was able to explore ways in which air could be channelled in order to keep much heavier objects in flight, and ultimately to create flying machines. Courageous action … turning insights and ideas into practical designs. Thinking from the future back requires courage. A more conventional approach would be to adopt a customer-centric. The customer, or more often the customer research, says it is wanted, and therefore it must be the right solution. Too much innovation is still based on the current articulated needs and paradigms of customers.

But breakthrough requires more, it requires stretch and challenge, perhaps collaboratively with customers, but it takes you beyond the known, beyond the safety zone of quantitative research, fusing insight and imagination, and inspired implementation. It is one thing to sit around having good ideas, another to make them happen. Test new ideas with experiments and prototypes, either physical builds or computer-generated graphics. Use this testing approach to learn and improve the designs, to build commitment from stakeholders, and to engage customers and partners.

Few of us are confident in our drawing capabilities, less still in our model-making skills. But we can all be tremendously inventive when we try.

Leonardo da Vinci

Draw pictures, cartoons, diagrams of your ideas. Rip out pictures and slogans from magazines, build collages of ideas to give a sense of the look and feel of a new idea. And just like at school, get you glue and scissors, and start building the concepts too. They might look ridiculous, but they help you to then describe your new possibility far better than words.

Test and challenge all of your assumptions. Ask other people. Make things happen — draw your pictures, stick them on wall. If you are walking as a team, consider recruiting an artist or cartoonist who can capture all the best ideas as spoken or developed, and create a visual record of the evolving ideas cartoonists are great, because they can poke fun too!

Make models, even the most amateur combination of cereal boxes and toilet rolls are good.

Leonardo da Vinci - Paintings, Inventions & Quotes - Biography

Learn from failures, yours and of others. Failure is good, even great.


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But learn what went wrong, and find ways to make it better. Persevere, keep trying, try a thousand times, and for 10 years or more like James Dyson , each time getting a little closer to your dream, and to a practical solution. Enjoy the journey, not just the result. If the idea is good enough, the reality will be worth the effort.

The ability to think requires health and fitness, stimulus and diversity, a healthy body creates a healthy mind. More than artist or scientist, da Vinci was a thinker, a philosopher.

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He reflected on life and its meaning, problems and possibilities. And he was more still. As a court entertainer, he designed sets and costumes, often loaded with symbols and significance. Sometimes this symbolism reflected his patronage, but it was also just another aspect of his curiosity.

Enlightened mind … from art to robotics, imagination without limits. Leonardo became a great storyteller, partly in his role as entertainer, but more importantly as a way to communicate and spread his ideas. His stories were thoughtful and amusing, and his company was sought by royalty and nobility across Europe. It made people think. Leonardo pushed the boundary of knowledge, exploring things that did not become accepted and physical until hundreds of years later. His notebooks were not published until four centuries after his death, and in them people were amazed to find what they thought was the latest discovery had been imagined many years before.

Yet his contemporaries also realised that they lived alongside a supremely gifted man — a genius — a man who could see things differently, and think different things. A man who redefined his world from the future back.

It sounds almost spiritual, but certainly requires spirit … the personal energy to stretch yourself, to look wider and deeper, to listen harder and interpret better, to think what has never been thought and to connect the unconnected, and to turn ideas into practical solutions for implementation. Thinking from the future back is exhausting but exhilarating. There is no magic formula, no definitive process, just a number of talents which you can embrace.

The rest is up to you, to embrace curiosity and perspective, and all the other factors. Yet if there is one essential ingredient, then it is an enlightened mind — one which has the fitness and agility to think beyond the norm. The agility comes from mental fitness, and like physical fitness this requires training.

It demands regular stimulus in many different ways — art and scientific, business and personal, analytical and creative, big picture and in with the detail. Develop your aerobic conditioning. Build body awareness, spiritually and physically — yoga and dance, juggling and fitness. Morning runs, lunchtime swims, evening at the gym.

Do it regularly, not as a lung-bursting, muscle-burning workout, but a sustained effort, that can be repeated often, and from which you feel better afterwards than when you started. Physical fitness heightens your mental agility, ready for your mind to be fuelled with new and interesting stimuli. You can achieve much of this in the way you live, the interests you have, the magazines you read, the people you meet — and also in the workplace, diversity of tasks, the configuration of offices, the structure of meetings, even the food you eat.

Break your conventions. Encourage your ambidexterity, use your non-dominant hand at least once every day.