Ideas



Another passage from Buckminster Fuller’s Universe that resonated with me:

“In all his endeavors, Fuller’s basic operating strategy was to construct artifacts (i.e., inventions) which solved specific problems and could be examined by the public. During the early years of his life, Bucky had noticed a great many people with ‘good ideas’ who never risked action. Later, as he became more well known, Fuller was perpetually accosted by such individuals who, with the best of intentions, wanted to apprise him of their good ideas, and he became even more aware of the fact that everyone has ideas. Bucky had, however, concluded that merely talking about ideas does not support their advancement or the development of individuals and humanity.”

“In fact, he found that the majority of people do nothing about their good ideas except engage in seemingly endless discussions. During such discussions, those with the good ideas perpetually attest to the value of their concepts and how their ideas would improve the human condition if only other people would abide by their wisdom.”

“As he had tried out a similar strategy of talking about his good ideas for a short period, Bucky was keenly aware of that methodology and its ineffectiveness. Once he became cognizant of the abundance of good ideas being discussed, Fuller began building models, both full-size and to scale, of his concepts in order to advance them into more functional forms and to demonstrate their practicality. Through that process, he discovered that translating an idea into a practical artifact is an extremely significant step in its development.”

“Fuller found that once an idea is manifested in a functional configuration, it can be examined by others, and only then can it be put to the crucial test: acceptance and use by society. He also learned that such acceptance does not occur overnight in most instances. Rather, an idea, and the physical manifestation of that idea, must progress through a gestation period, which might last for months, years, decades, or even centuries. Still, Fuller believed that an idea has first to be manifested in a functional artifact which can be displayed and discussed. He also felt that he learned much more from reducing his ideas to such practical solutions and creating artifacts than from anything else which occupied his time.”