What if?


What if?

Two words that make the heart of every inventor flutter with excitement. What if….. we placed the bricks like this, we could support a huge dome and not just a small arch. What if …….we turned this engine sideways? What if …….. we mixed the synthetic fibre strand with the cotton? What if ……. we made the transistors smaller, used better conductors? What if ……….. we made a computer a person can easily carry?

Every one of us uses or sees the results of the “what if’s” that the inventive ones pose and go on to develop. The cumulative knowledge in a specialist area is what allows each what if to be thought, uttered and experimented.

I have been very fortunate to have worked for that past 36 years in an industry where this is an every-day event. WHAT IF?

From computers that took whole rooms, to the tiny things you hold in your hand that calculate, store information, facilitate communication. What an exciting ride it has been. Not every what if has turned out something immediately useable, yet sometimes they are just a starter what if for further what if’s and then a what if that is workable, valuable.

EXCEPT there are people who use them without thinking. What if…. Tossed in to a situation where they are only looking from one side. Then they offer a “what if” that is a dead end. Because they didn’t put it into a context for the present.

One of the things I have so enjoyed from working with some wonderful minds in the industry is the ability of the best to look at far bigger and more complex situations and post the “what if” in a way that benefits the whole situation and not just their own little view.

So I have to say they are two of my favourite words.

WHAT IF?

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16 thoughts on “What if?

  1. I love this, Sidey! Those two words pave the way for a more open minded approach to finding solution.

    This week, we planned to reorganize our closet by buying some closet organizers. We checked out a few solutions (costing hundreds of $’s) without finding exactly what we wanted.

    Then we asked, What if?

    What if we moved this here? And that there?
    What if we hung a few hooks?
    What if?

    Voila! The closet is exactly as it needs to be . . . and we only spent $8 on a few hooks and mollies. 😀

  2. Now “what if” has two applications. One is to lament the past for something that could have turned out better or worse. Waste of time I guess. But the “what if” you describe is of the present’s possibilities for the future. Too many people feel we have lost our greatness instead of getting on board to shape a future. The Robert Kennedy quote comes to mind “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not”

  3. A simple question to ask in all aspects of life, but often with profound consequences as you have indicated in your post. I’ve see it in the manufacturing industry where some astute companies have their ear to the ground listening out for employees’ what-ifs, and have reaped considerable rewards.

    Thank you, Sideview, for this challenge – it has cleared my Sunday morning fog 🙂

    http://beeblu.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/what-if/

  4. This is a really clever post, I thought I wasn’t a big “what if” person, meaning I try not to look back and regret things, but reading this had shown me the other more positive meaning, one that we all use so many times in our lives without even realising it.

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