Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Innovation from Assumption Smashing - An example of Roundtail Bikes

Bicycle frame design has remained almost the same for last 70 years, all the popular bikes still have the old triangular/diamond frame. The diamond frame has been around for such a long time, it was almost next to impossible to think of any other design for a bicycle.

As part of my innovation coaching exercise, I always ask the audience to challenge the current assumptions and that will help them think of breakthrough innovations. For example, it took Apple to think of Mobile Internet as the main application for the phone - which resulted in iPhone. This was against the standard assumption of that time that people will user PCs for Internet and cell phones for calling. In my innovation workshops, I conduct an assumption smashing exercise - to help people break out of their current assumptions and come up with radical ideas.

Canadian cyclist Lou Tortola applied the same sort of logic to the frame design of his Tortola RoundTail road bicycle. This is a revolutionary design of the bicycle frame that dramatically increases comfort, while retaining the lateral stiffness and pedaling efficiency of traditional diamond frame bicycles. This bicycle has been ASTM approved, is 10x greater in vertical compliance and 60x greater in vibration absorption, and helps reduce stress & fatigue to the riders spine.

When most other bicycles have a rear triangle consisting of straight seat stays, chain stays and a seat tube, the RoundTail simply has two shock-absorbing joined rings to create a radically new design - which can offer smoother and more comfortable rides. The round tubular frame was tested at Colorado's Microbac Laboratories and was found have sixty times better shock absorption than the traditional triangular frame design.

This is a classic example of radical innovation by assumption smashing.

Also see: http://www.roundtail.ca/

1 comment:


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