When we were told it’s impossible, we knew it’s the right way to be done.
—Joe Sutter, Boeing 747 Team Leader.
This quote begins the story about Izhar’s obsession with the cardboard bicycle. Inspired by the example of a canoe made of cardboard, Izhar explores an origami approach; folding, gluing, compressing, and shaping the material into components that he will ultimately assemble and ride.
We love the scene that describes his prototype. “It looks like a sort of hybrid between a packaging box and a sort of bicycle.” True, his prototype is crudely shaped and not entirely attractive, but it plays a critical role in his design process: research, development, testing, feedback, and iteration. Izhar works with different tools and materials than we do, and his test pilot wears a helmet—but his process is entirely familiar in the context of design innovation and product development. Testing, feedback, and iteration. Here are a few takeaways from the Cardboard Bike Project: prototypes should provide an accurate representation of the intended user experience, but they don’t need to be painted or polished. They should roll straight, but they don’t need to be aerodynamically efficient. They shouldn’t fall apart under duress and it’s okay to show a few glue joints and assembly brackets, especially if the prototype development process can be accelerated as a result. We appreciate Izhar’s example and we definitely love his bike.
In his own words, “It’s strong, it’s durable, it’s cheap. What I like about it the most, it’s made out of cardboard!”