Just as Halloween was approaching I was in need of a book. I heard an interview on NPR that enlightened me to a new forward in the latest version of Frankenstein, I thought “perfect”. It’s taken me this long to progress past that and into the actual story. I didn’t get far before combining the message of authors actual preface with all that preceded it, and concluding that there is more to this than my preconceived notion of the tale.
Many associate the story Frankestein with the role played by Boris Karloff in the movie. This time of year most associate Karloff with the narration of the “Grinch Who Stole Christmas”:
The story of Frankenstein is in essence is one that summarizes the results of man messing with nature. What is amazing however is how well the story is written by the author who was only 19 at the time. Her insights on the innovation process deemed worthy of recognition to me.
“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos: the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances but cannot bring into being the substance itself. In all matters of discovery and invention, even of those that appertain to the imagination”…”invention consists in th capacity of seizing on the capabilities of a subject and in the power moulding and fashioning ideas suggest to it.”
Mary Shelly (age 19)
“Frankenstein” published by Signet Classics
What the author is suggesting is applicable to the design process. To better understand the circumstances that surround the proposed need. A problem well stated is a problem half solved. You can dive into the issue with a hypothesis but you must stay open to unforeseen insights that could drastically influence the outcome. Embrace the chaos, it’s messy, risky and scary.