[thought experiments] when we imagine a situation, then we try to consider its consequences in order to better understand the problem.
What does the activity of a researcher consist of? Where do ideas come from? For my part, I work a lot by intuition. Then maths comes into play. I know that other scientists operate in a diametrically opposed way. I project borderline cases in my head, what Einstein called "gedanken experiments", "thought experiments" in which we imagine a situation and then try to envisage its consequences to better understand the problem.
This intuition feeds off my reading. I devoured the books. I have absorbed the work of those who have gone before me. One never discovers alone. Ideas exist, dormant, and they arise in the mind of one or the other, because the time has come. This is the way research goes. It progresses in a scattered order, by leaps and bounds... backwards and forwards. But it is always collective. The image of the inventor alone in his laboratory is a fiction, even a novel.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
The most consequential assumption behind all his work (ed. Don Norman, leading authority on design and usability) is that even if human error is to blame, it is hard to imagine any human not making these errors. Humans might fail—but they are not wrong. And if you try to mirror their thinking a little, even the stupidest and strangest things that people do have their own indelible logic. You have to know why people behave as they do—and design around their foibles and limitations, rather than some ideal.
His great insight was that no matter how complex the technology, or how familiar, our expectations for it remain the same. […]. This is what you have to understand if you are to design an app that people can use the first time they try it, or a plane that humans won't crash, or a nuclear reactor that humans can't cause to melt through the continental shelf.
The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas.
It is the night sea journey, the lone fisherman on a tropical sea with his nets, and you let these nets down - sometimes, something tears through them that leaves them in shreds and you just row for shore, and put your head under your bed and pray.
At other times what slips through are the minutiae, the minnows of this ichthyological metaphor of idea chasing.
But, sometimes, you can actually bring home something that is food, food for the human community that we can sustain ourselves on and go forward.
[Many people] think it means accept failure with dignity and move on. The better, more subtle interpretation is that failure is a manifestation of learning and exploration. If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it. And, for leaders especially, this strategy — trying to avoid failure by out-thinking it — dooms you to fail.