OnInnovation: Visionaries thinking out loud. A video oral history project advancing a culture of innovation powered by The Henry Ford.
Well, I think the real recognition of the innovation in what we do happened a little bit later. I built a solar-heated house in Ireland as an experiment as a student. And you know, in innovation it's been said that you don't glide from success to success. You lurch from failure to failure. If you think about Edison and how many experiments he did, you know, while you're searching for something. So, you know, I piled up lots of rocks in this solar house to store heat, and then realized after I had piled up 30 tons of rocks that the house itself was actually quite massive, and I didn't need all these rocks. You know, so it's like, "Oh, shucks, that was not necessary." Large scale effort on my part. But I did it myself and I learned from it.
So, you know, learning is really what tells you that you're innovating, when you're learning. And so, when we did the offices for environmental defense fund in New York and found out that we were the only people we could find that were actually dealing with indoor air quality issues as architects, you know, there were very few people involved in the commercial sector then looking at materials and what they were off casting and things like that. There were a few scientists. There were a few architects. There were a few engineers. But it was really an area where people weren't active.
And we found ourselves really having to do the work from scratch and learning as we went. And so lots of innovation occurred then and still occurs now based on those original searches for information about the health of materials and the health of systems. And we're still at it, and there's still a huge new frontier, so the innovation continues.
Mori is an architect and educator, who is renowned for her research-based approach to design and architecture.
Visionary Thinker, Serial Entrepreneur
For Buckminster Fuller, the answer was usually yes—though not necessarily as planned or envisioned.
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