Wilbur and Orville Wright got their start fixing bicycles, but, in 1903, developed the three-axis controls that made flying a fixed-wing aircraft possible. Their invention not only made airplanes a part of industry and trade, but also opened the world to the kind of travel most people had only dreamed about. Their work together resulted in one of the formative inventions of the 20th century – and a completely different world.
Drs. Watson and Crick didn’t know each other particularly well before they began their work together trying to understand the structure of the DNA molecule. But, by building on the work of the chemist Dr. Rosalind Franklin, they were able to describe the double helix that we now know forms the framework for the basic building blocks of all life – and to lay the foundation for understanding the human genome.
When John Lennon and Paul McCartney started writing and recording songs together as part of the Beatles, they had no idea how far their partnership would take them. While the band as a whole lives on as one of the most influential in history, the dynamic creative partnership that Lennon and McCartney embodied was the driving force behind the sound that changed popular music forever.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin met when Brin, a student at Stanford, gave Page a tour of the campus. They started the company that would become Google as a way to experiment with search algorithms – but it’s grown into a suite of technological wonders that have become an integral part of the lives of millions. The world’s information, and the way we’re all able to access it, will never be the same.
While ice cream might not seem quite as important as the rest of these inventions, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have done the world a favor by setting the bar high for interesting and unique ice cream varieties. Cohen's insistence on the chunky texture that makes Ben and Jerry's unique, combined with Greenfield's focus on the rich and complex taste of each ice cream, have led a veritable ice cream revolution. Making the world a better place with chunks of fudge brownie and chocolate chip cookie dough is definitely one way to put collaboration to good (and delicious) use.