In business and engineering, we’re taught to look at problem-solving pragmatically. And knowing and understanding limitations, accepting parameters, and working within in them to accomplish what needs to be done are skills revered in these sectors.
But what happens when we hit a wall? Do we rationalize why something can’t be done? Is failure an option when nothing else makes sense? For those risky innovators out there, these moments become opportunities to throw conventional wisdom out the window and “think again”.
Abandoning what “makes sense” and truly confronting challenges by wrapping our minds around them, embracing them at all costs and finding a way to overcome them beyond all rationale are what separates the innovators from the rest of the herd.
Here is a prime example of how legendary innovator Steve Jobs often confronted obstacles, and how his persistence in the face of the seemingly impossible led to some of the greatest technological advancements in our lifetime.
As referenced in Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson, Wendell Weeks, CEO of Corning Glass, recalls a situation that typified Jobs’ unorthodox approach:
Prior to launching the first iPhone, Jobs reached out to Weeks to request him to begin manufacturing a Corning product called “Gorilla Glass” to use in this new, revolutionary Apple device. There were two monumental problems with this request, according to Weeks: 1) Gorilla Glass hadn’t been made since the 1960s and 2) The original product would have to be made exponentially thinner to be used in a cell phone. Weeks’ initial response to Jobs was that this would simply be impossible to manufacture. Not taking “no” for an answer, Jobs’ response was calm, confident and simple: “You can do it. Get your mind around it, you can do it.”
Despite many engineers at Corning being adamantly opposed to Jobs’ seemingly impossible assertion, the end result was phenomenal. Once Weeks finally did as Jobs said, focusing on how it could be done rather than all the reasons why it could not, Corning began producing enough of the new, ultra-thin variation of Gorilla Glass for the iPhone rollout just six months later.
At Metro Mold, we take a similar, radical approach to confronting seemingly impossible challenges. Whether we come across materials that cannot be machined using traditional techniques, or tight tolerances and complex geometry that completely throw off a project, we apply our well-rounded material engineering expertise along with the mindset to never accept that something can’t be done and we find a way to succeed.