Ready, Fire, Aim

Even as I write these words, I know they will not survive as originally written. Better words spring to mind. Ideas are being defined as they’re being made. The humor of the writer’s adage, “there’s no such thing as writing… only rewriting,” derives from the fact that from the second grade, students are taught (or mistaught) that writing is about writing what you’ve learned rather than learning what you’ve written.

The principle goes far beyond writing. Thomas Edison tested over 3000 filaments before he came up with his version of a practical light bulb. Paul Rand, the designer of logos for IBM, UPS, ABC and Westinghouse moved elements around on a page, often for days, until one found the right positioning. Today, powerful tools allow businesses to model, simulate and test products, services and experiences to reduce time-to-market, cost and market risk.

This approach where solutions are successively approximated through sometimes dozens of iterations, could be called the “Ready, Fire, Aim” method of development. Through prototyping and simulation, you see what you’ve got, then re-calibrate and try again. It’s reinventing as you go. But, generating options and testing are still an undervalued and misunderstood stage of development that is often neglected by businesses.