Today as I got ready to run to Home Depot for the third time today (home improvement project) I considered the thoughtfulness that has gone into the design of the electric seat.  I was taking the Odyssey and my wife had driven it last so I had to slide the seat back.  I opened the door, pushed the button on the side and moved the seat back.  A common day thing but when you think about it, it is pretty amazing.

I began thinking about the fact that the seat works even when the ignition is off.  Again, nothing earth shattering but somewhere some group of engineers had to sit around and think about what features would work when the ignition was off.  Internal lights are an easy choice.  Headlights had to be validated in some way.  It probably didn’t take a lot of thought for them to determine the Air Conditioner could wait, the radio could wait, etc.  Plus how would you determine when to turn them off (door close?  delay after you turn off the ignition?)?

So, is it likely that the first generation of the electric seat didn’t work with the ignition off?  Is it possible that this was done after feedback from users?  Did they first consider that the user reaching in and turning on the ignition was a sufficient workaround?  My mind immediately went to work, to software design and approach.  Sure, you can’t expect to get it all right the first time- you need to get something out there, something that provides value, then listen for the feedback.  New features come out all the time in the car world and in software.  Look no farther for each in the news feeds coming out of CES.

From a parenting standpoint, the lesson still works.  Don’t expect to get everything right the first time.  Live with the expectation that mistakes happen.  Adapt, improvise, overcome.  Recognize issues and course correct.  You may react the wrong way when something happens but it isn’t the end of the world.  Don’t quit, don’t get discouraged – learn from it and adjust.

And seek feedback.  Now that doesn’t mean sending your kids a survey to rate your parenting but listen to responses, from those around you and your inner voice.  Your gut will recognize mistakes and they you must be willing to do self assessments to invoke the course correct.  Also look at the reaction from your family, see what they are saying and what they are not (body language speaks volumes).  Use this information to recognize when you can improve and act on them.

So, what do you think the electric seat will do next?  What will be the next big technological break through?  What will you do next to advance your parenting and the health of your family?  Keep up the progress and enjoy the electric seat!