Every great idea has a long story.
If we look precisely at the history of each significant invention, we can trace the steps belonging to the people that led its initial innovation.
Before the success of Tesla, history knew the failure of DeLorean Motor Company, of Nikola Tesla whose inventions had been silenced for a century, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of steps belonging to other people.
So, what is the difference between innovation and its imitation, between disruption and copying, or even stealing?
I concluded that the difference is that the way you have to pass is by jumping two, three, five steps ahead of the people whose works inspire you. Usually, the human brain can predict something one or two steps ahead. To go three or five steps further forward, you need to use special design thinking techniques such as mind mapping, storyboarding, and game storming, to name a few, or through a rich journey full of experiences which allows you to reach certain conclusions. Also, I believe AI-based prediction models could give good results, but we as humanity are only just starting to use them.
When you live this experience and dive deeply into it, you can see how these dots could be connected and try to link them. Of course, nobody guarantees that your hypothesis is right, and most of them will not work even if some are “correct.” You may be ahead of the time, as it was with the first attempt to launch the prototype cryptocurrency in 1983.
Perhaps “sustainable” 3D printing and “sustainable” digitally-designed, additively manufactured clothes (as well as bags, jewelry, and all consumer goods in general, plus all the rest connected to that) would not have occurred to me or be turned into reality if I did not immerse myself in studying design thinking as a proven systemic approach to new product development, or if I did not approach particular problems I wanted to solve. These problems were the environmental and social impact of manufacturing and supply chains from multiple angles and roles. In my world, the word “sustainable” can both be measured and have an exact meaning as well as the processes and tech application to achieve a level of “sustainability.”