Monthly Archives: May 2010

Learning Cycles and Rapid Prototyping Ironman style



Tony Stark tests his prototype suit


A rapid learning cycle calls for rapid prototyping methods.  Inside of a rapid learning cycle, an innovator creates multiple design options, and then builds and tests the prototypes.  Developing prototypes helps to eliminate the risks in development.  Although, in the case of Tony Stark’s test flight, we all realize that he should have spent a little more time analyzing the risks before taking off in his Ironman suit.  

As an illustration of rapid prototyping, consider the prototype shop that Tony Stark builds in his Malibu beachfront house.  Here he can build prototypes on his Bridgeport milling machine, use sophisticated 3D computer software, and give commands to his smart robots.  



Tony uses the workshop to create rapidly evolving versions of his IronMan suits.   His workshop is basically a rapid prototyping set-up where he can create anything from the IronMan suits to a particle accelerator.   In IronMan II, Tony digitized the model city created by his father (digital wireframes of existing objects is a technology that exists today), and then creates a full 3D model, which unlocks the secrets handed down from his father to a key new element which not only will increase the power of his suit, but save his life.  

 Tony Stark has all the technology he needs to build a small-scale particle accelerator to generate the new element for his power supply, the arc reactor.  Sound impossible to build a particle accelerate in just a few days?  Well, it is the movies after all.  Tony even uses Captain America’s shield to level out one section of the accelerator tube!  Now that is a rough, quick, and effective use of prototyping (plus a little drama and foreshadowing of future movies thrown into the mix)!  

This is a great movie and very entertaining.  The movie shows what a rapid prototyping shop of the future might look like!  



Learning Cycle on Successful Blogging

I just read Tim Westergren’s blog, and Pandora has reached over 50 million registered viewers.  This is an unbelievable number of worldwide users. My son and wife recently introduced me to this wonderful tool, and I have a favorite channel.  As a fan (and sometime player) of the classical guitar, my channel is one for my favorite artist …  Christopher Parkening, one of the best classical guitarists in the world.   I can get this on my iPhone through the Pandora App.   How is cool is that.

Reading the Pandora blog answers a couple of other questions in this learning cycle.

A successful blog provides more than the unusual, weird, or human interest stories, a successful blog provides something of value to the reader.  In the case of the Pandora blog, not only can you get news about the company, but you also can read about a really cool project – namely the cataloging of 20 million songs in their music genome project.

A successful blog also is updated regularly.  In lean we call that a pitch.   The Pandora blog is updated at least weekly.

A blog also might offer advertising.  However, the key here is to advertise tastefully, and to not go crazy with a lot of real estate offer to advertising.  In the case of the Pandora site, the reserve one spot on their blog to donate to their charity.

We are getting to the end of learning cycle 1.  Stay tuned as we continue on our journey.