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Idealog—in the ideas business

Innovation of the day: The Britten motorbike

The Britten V1000

[Photo credit]

Who: John Britten (b. 1950, d. 1995)

Innovation: Britten V1000 Motorcycle

What does it do?

It is a hand-built race motorcycle that goes really, really fast.

What problem does it solve?

How to beat the competition in international motorcycle race events.

A success?

Christchurch born and bred, Britten had a talent for building moving vehicles, even as a kid - at age 12 he constructed his first motor powered go-kart. The Britten V1000 was built in the early 1990s, and it had some serious racing success: it won the Battle of the Twins in Daytona, reached the fastest top speed at the Isle of Man TT in 1993, and it set a number of world speed records. Only 10 V1000s were ever produced, and one is on display at Te Papa.

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There is a great exhibition of these bikes at Te Papa. Loved these as a kid.

We did a wonderful story about the difference between fast innovators and slow innovators using Britten v Burt Munro as illustrations.

It's based on a fascinating study showing that just because you're over 40 doesn't mean you've missed out on creating that world-beating idea.

It was first published in Wired.

Vincent Hi
Be careful not to confuse innovation with invention.

If this is an example of innovation then what was the problem he resolved to fix. If it was his own problem (challenge) then I would contend that my brother was, in this case, an inventor.

Dorenda Britten

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