A beautiful question that spawned a futuristic car

Insights from Frank Moss at the MIT Media Lab

Frank Moss is a successful tech entrepreneur and former director of the MIT Media Lab, a fascinating place where people are questioning almost everything about the ways we live and how our world operates. In a conversation I had with Moss the other day, he told me about how one Media Lab project—an endeavor to build a car of the future, known as the CityCar—revolved around an interesting question.

The team working on the car—a mix of architects, computer scientists, social scientists, urban planners, and other disciplines—started by thinking not about the car itself but the ways it would be used, and where it would be used. That led them to pose this question:

What if you imagined the kind of city in which you’d like to live, and then designed a car for this ideal place?

What resulted was a little gem that was a stackable, foldable, electric car, incorporating revolutionary features including a new form of robotic wheel, a foldable RoboScooter, and an award-winning approach to managing urban transportation systems called Mobility-on-Demand. The project, along with a larger discussion of how and why the innovators at MIT Media Lab are able to do such remarkable things, is described in this post written by Moss. And for the full story of what’s going on at MIT Media Lab, check out Moss’s book The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives.

Moss told me that questioning is at the core of everything at MIT Media Lab, but in particular, what makes the innovators there so successful is that they act on their questions: They build, they test, they experiment—and they give form to those beautiful questions they’re asking.


Follow Frank on twitter at http://twitter.com/frank_moss

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About the Author

Innovation expert and questionologist Warren Berger has studied hundreds of the world’s foremost innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers to learn how they ask questions, generate original ideas, and solve problems. He is the author or co-author of eight books, including THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead, the bestseller A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, and the internationally acclaimed GLIMMER, named one of Businessweek’s Best Innovation and Design Books of the Year. His writing appears regularly in Psychology Today, Fast CompanyHarvard Business Review, and The New York Times. He lives in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts.

1 Beautiful Comment

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  1. Yudith says:

    Thank you for inspiring us to ask questions. The habit or skill of asking great questions is so helpful in so many ways. It really helps to spark imagination and creativity. I like the idea of imaging an ideal city.
    Yudith recently posted..Deep questions, life hard questions and weird questions- Love, dream and play

      

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