“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Henry Ford 1863-1947 Founder Ford Motor Company
Henry Ford is a pioneer of the automobile industry, he was the founder of Ford Motor Company and chief developer of the assembly line technique of mass production. His statement holds a profound lesson in innovation and vision.
Before we pull the wheels off this statement, there has been debate for many years if Ford did utter those exact words and the only guy that can really tell us (that being Henry Ford himself), died in 1947.
But let’s still jump aboard my explanation truck and take a drive around the block to unravel the meaning behind this quote and understand why it’s more than just a clever phrase.
Embracing innovation over familiarity:
Picture a world where horses were the primary mode of transportation. In that context, asking people what they wanted might have resulted in responses like “stronger horses” or “faster horses.” These answers make sense based on what was familiar and within the existing frame of reference.
Ford’s quote means embracing a mindset of innovation and thinking beyond the expected. It means asking “why” and “what if” instead of just “what.” It’s about creating products and solutions that exceed expectations and address needs people may not even be aware of.
Henry Ford’s quote highlights that true innovation and your own wealth growth often come from being provided solutions you didn’t know you needed, rather than simply fulfilling a want.