I guess Mormon pioneer William Clayton was bored as he crossed the Plains in a covered wagon in 1847. It was during his journey that he invented the odometer. It may not sound like a sexy invention, but “previous to this, mileage was calculated by counting the revolutions of a rag tied to the spoke of a wagon wheel.”

Think of the advantages the odometer had over the manual counting of a rag’s rotations! The odometer allowed for standardization of units and use, greater accuracy in map-making and directions, measurements that ultimately lead to GPS and has become the universal mechanism for recording mileage in vehicles.

I doubt Clayton thought of these implications 170 years ago today when he released his new tool, but his invention lives on and is in use in almost every vehicle on the road today.

What problem or inefficiency do you see that you could improve? What seemingly minor contribution can you make that could actually turn out to have far greater reach? How can you see something with new eyes? I’m counting on you to be like William Clayton and make a little piece of your world better today.

* Source: Chase’s Calendar of Events: Anniversary of Odometer Invented, May 12, 1847.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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