The "1-10-100 Principle" for experimenters

Above: Scott Weaver came to Maker Faire to show how he makes incredible toothpick sculptures. The "1-10-100 principle" applies to his art, I'm sure.

Peter Tu of GE Global Research went to Maker Faire in San Mateo in May and wrote a piece about what he witnessed there. Like many others, he was impressed with Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe's talk about the "1-10-100 Principle" for experimenters.

Two of the stars of the event were Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe who are famous for their viral Coke and Mentos videos. I enjoyed a talk they gave on their approach to innovation as it applies to performance art. Their method follows the 1-10-100 principle. It takes one experiment to spark a concept. By experiment 10 one should have fleshed things out and have defined a direction. By experiment 100 one hopes to have found something that is sublime… The four rules that they espouse are: 1) seek variation – explore the possibilities. 2) be obsessive – keep focused until one finds something special.3) be stubborn – don’t give up until you work through the problems. 4) set limits and work within them – unconstrained innovation meanders and wonders, only by setting limits does it force one to dive into the depths of a concept. Their thoughts are somewhat reminiscent of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, where the key idea is to have an obsession with quality and to always have a good pot of coffee close at hand.
GE and Maker Faire: a match made in nerd heaven



  1. zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance is not about having an obsession with quality.

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