There are a lot of innovators out there that have impacted our lives, and we probably do not even know their names. I want to introduce you to one that has impacted the fun many of us had growing up and the fun we continue to have as adults. His name is John Miller and he innovated the roller coaster.
Miller has been referred to as the “Edison of roller coasters.” He held over 100 roller coaster related patents. He wanted the coasters to be more fun, go higher, drop faster and turn sharper. But he also wanted them to be safe.
Two of his innovations will be familiar to anyone who has ever ridden on a roller coaster. First, was a special type of chain for wooden coaters that could pull them to higher heights without the danger of their falling backwards. Anyone who hears the “clickety-clack” of the cars going up the hill preparing for the drop can hear his invention working, taking you up for a thrill. Second, was the wheels on both sides of the track. This allows cars to make sharper turns without flying off the track, increasing the trill and also increasing the safety.
So, when you go to the amusement park this summer remember that someone innovated your thrill ride to make it safer and fun. Like many other innovations, it could not just focus on one aspect. If you increased the fun, but made it less safe, you would not have an innovation, you would have a lawsuit. So look at your innovation, what areas can be improved to give the end user a better experience, but also protect them from change and risk. It may be the key to a successful innovation, and a fun summer.