Arguably one of the greatest collaborations of all time – the Wright Brothers. Known for achieving the first powered, heavier-than-air, manned and controlled flight in 1903.

This timeless story of success was born through collaboration. The Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville brought us into the age of aviation by collaborating with others through the post and via telegram!

Original Collaborators

In 1903, the Wright Brothers had to do things a little differently to how we work today. The first flight occurred in North Carolina because the area reportedly had sustained breezes and sand dunes for a soft landing.
Without Google to easily find information, they were forced to rely on assumptions and the word of others. They relied on collaboration. Their collaboration required telegram and letter writing to deliver hard copy data. Their collaboration had them relying on written word of the local weather station manager!

Their success

Their invention of the three-axis control enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft. This fundamental breakthrough became and remains the standard on fixed-wing planes today. The brothers set out to fix “the flying problem”, which set them apart from other engineers who aimed to create powerful engines.

After lots of hard work, time and working together, two years after their first flight, the Wright Brothers surpassed their own milestone when they built and flew the first fully practical aeroplane.

The collaboration between the two Wright Brothers played a major role in leading them to success before any other individual engineers at the time.

Lessons to learn

What lessons can be taken from this old school collaboration?

  1. Collaboration is key

    Working with each other to achieve their goals is what set this duo apart from others who were trying at the time. Not only did their collaboration with each other play a big role in their success, but also their collaboration with others.

  2. Don’t worry about failure

    “It wasn’t luck that made them fly; it was hard work and common sense; they put their whole heart and soul and all their energy into an idea and they had the faith.” – John T Daniels who witnessed their first flight.

  3. Don’t limit who you collaborate with

    The force that helped the brothers with publicity and getting the news out to the world wasn’t the media. After many successful flights, the Wright Brothers were still being ignored by the media. It was through the help of a trade journalist who’s company sold bookkeeping supplies, that their achievement became known.


The importance and benefits of collaboration are clear through many different successes throughout history. Download the RISE app here to improve your collaboration processes and make the most out of co-working with others.