Todd Rose, Co-founder of The Center for Individual Opportunity, discusses The Myth of Average at TEDxSonomaCounty. Here is the full transcript and summary of the TEDx Talk.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Announcer: Please welcome to the TEDxSonomaCounty stage Todd Rose.
Todd Rose – Author of The End of Average
It’s 1952, and the Air Force has a problem. They’ve got good pilots, flying better planes but they’re getting worse results. And they don’t know why.
For a while they blamed the pilots. They even blamed the technology. They eventually got around to blaming the flight instructors. But it turned out that the problem was actually with the cockpit. Let me explain.
Imagine you’re a fighter pilot. You’re operating a machine that in some cases can travel faster than the speed of sound and where issues between success and failure, sometimes life and death, can be measured in split seconds. If you’re a fighter pilot, you know that your performance depends fundamentally on the fit between you and your cockpit. Because after all what good is the best technology in the world, if you can’t reach the critical instruments when you need them the most?
But this presents a challenge for the Air Force. Because obviously, pilots are not the same size. So, the issue is: How do you design one cockpit that can fit the most individuals? For a long time, it was assumed that you could do this by designing for the average pilot. That almost seems intuitively right. If you design something that’s fit for the average sized person, wouldn’t it fit most people? It seems right but it’s actually wrong.