Friday, April 29, 2011

Lexus Innovates by Borrowing a Lesson from Henry Ford

An earlier post, Learning to Create the Future, discussed what Henry Ford called the forced method of investigation. This philosophy is what led Ford to imagine the Model T (a car that would sell for the previously unheard of price of $500) and then figure out a way to manufacture it. In other words, Ford and his colleagues defined the challenge (a low-cost, affordable car) in a way that forced them to develop assembly line automobile production.

As the video shows, Lexus has just used a similar approach. They began by imagining a new kind of chassis that would be lighter and stronger than conventional chasses, one that would require the use of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP). That in turn, forced them to invent a new kind of loom that could weave the carbon fiber directly into the chassis.

Pretty neat, eh?

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