Ever noticed how far ahead things are in the cartoons? The Jetsons had access to some pretty amazing technology in the 60’s, they had the dog walking treadmill, automatic vacuum cleaners, robot household staff and much much more.

If you have been paying attention you will have noticed that some of the Jetsons inventions have become commercial realities such as the video phone and the vacuum cleaner, while we are still waiting for a few of the crazier ones like the flying car.

So how were the cartoonists so far ahead of their time? Actually it’s pretty simple, they didn’t have to worry about how to make any of their crazy ideas happen!  All they needed to do was to have the idea, come up with a funky visual and create an appropriate sound effect and then it was a cartoon reality.

You may assume that there is no real life lesson to be learnt from this form of invention, but I would disagree.  The cartoonists provided the challenge to inventors, from each Jetsons concept a whole generation of clever people took up that challenge, and over time the products were commercialised.

The lesson to be learnt is the importance of letting an idea sit out there for a while, and rather than thinking “that won’t work because” try thinking “how would that work?”.  If you only think about why the real world makes an idea impossible then you will never get from motor car to space car, you will never get from skateboard to hoverboard and you will certainly never be able to use that mindset to create amazing solutions to wicked problems.

The difference in mindset is staggering; it is about thinking possibility not probability.


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Written by Lisa Smith

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Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.