Experts in virtually every field of research and science have made predictions, both bad and good, in response to learning about innovation, design, or invention. Many have scoffed through the years, while many inventions never made it past the drawing-board stage, but there are few items that didn't fail beyond their initial concept - and everyone has come to depend on them, as a part of their daily life.
In the United States there are about 220 million TVs that Americans sit around for hours everyday. Televisions have become the main source of news, entertainment, alerts, information, and water cooler topics, for more than half a century. A few decades ago, designers were focused on making TVs smaller and more portable, while today they are focused on making them thinner and larger. However, no matter what the current design trend, televisions are firmly fixed in society the world over. Yet when pioneers of television technology first came on the scene, in the early 1900s, people turned up their noses. Scientists said that although the basic idea of the television was probably feasible, it was impossible to create them, both financially and commercially, also that developers need not waste their time dreaming about it. Can you imagine what the world would be like today if the early developers had decided to abandon those dreams?
George Westinghouse bought from Nikola Tesla, the original patent for the transmission of air conditioning, and that's what started it all. Thomas Edison had a good time taunting Westinghouse about the foolishness of his invention, but thank goodness his taunts didn't keep Westinghouse from perfecting it. The truth today is that distributing power with air conditioning today is even easier and more efficient, than with the direct current perfected by Edison.
Over a century ago, people thought that the idea of a "horseless carriage" was just a luxury, only wealthy people would ever be able to indulge in. In fact, popular opinion was that although automobiles would cost less as time went by, it would never be as commonly used as a bicyle. Boy, were those soothsayers wrong. People today are rediscovering the joys and health benefits of cycling, but even still - more than 50 million new cars hit the road every year. It would be hard to take the family to DisneyWorld on a bike, wouldn't it?
A few decades ago, pundits liked to scoff at designers, saying that the limits of possibilities with computers had already been reached, and there would certainly never be any way or need for regular people to use them at home. Then came the integrated circuit (known now as the microchip). Once that tiny gem was developed, the sky was the limit. Computers allowed fantastic advances in research, academia, astronomy, and numerous other disciplines. Once they were created in convenient desktop models, they allowed human beings all around the globe to connect in ways that were never even considered before. Talk about having the world at your front door! Real-time news and communication we enjoy today would not have been possible without the personal computer.
These inventions, and many others, are clear evidence that if you have what you think is a good design for a useful product, the worst thing you can do is pay attention to those who say that it can't be done. There are plenty of excellent, groundbreaking inventions, that so-called "experts" were quick to disregard. If the designers had listened to them, where would society be today? Actor Peter Ustinov had it right when he said, "If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done."