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Kitty Hawk Moment illustration: The Wright brother's first successful bi-plane, The Wright Flyer is shown taking flight; shifting the concept of human flight from the impossible to the possible.

Kitty Hawk moment

On 17 December 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright brothers took the first short flights in their Wright Flyer. It's the original Kitty Hawk moment: when the impossible becomes possible. The first radio transmission, the first autonomous vehicle journey, the first sub-2 hour marathon could all be Kitty Hawk moments.

A Kitty Hawk moment as a metaphor doesn't have to be big or as clear cut — it could be your first 5k, the first video call with an elderly relative, or the first sale for your business — it just needs to help to break a barrier and show what's now possible.

In a lovely article on The Kitty Hawk moment, after Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne flight, Bob Clarebrough highlights that not everyone will see the significance of a Kitty Hawk moment. And it was nearly 24 years before the first plane crossing of the Atlantic. Like Bill Buxton's idea of the long nose of innovation there may be a lot of work left before the new development hits the big time.

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