The Wonkavator

Willy Wonka:
“Going up? This is an ingenious invention that I call the Wonkavator.”

Grandpa Joe:
“It looks like an elevator to me.”

Willy Wonka:
“Yes but elevators only go up. The Wonkavator goes up, down, sideways and every other which way you can think of going.”

Charlie Bucket:
“Wow.”

When Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory premiered back in 1971, the elevator that didn’t only go up and down fascinated moviegoers. Now over 45 years later, German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp is bringing the Wonkavator to real life.

Elisha Otis pioneered the modern elevator industry back in 1845, and not much has changed since. Sure, cars are faster, and digital displays provide riders with news clips, but the elevator fundamentally still propels riders up and down a single shaft via cables.

The talented hackers at ThyssenKrupp just weren’t satisfied. What if they could create a system that moved in multiple directions? What if they could expand the uses of elevators completely and offer a new form of transportation altogether?

Rejecting the established norms of the cable-driven elevator industry, they ditched conventional wisdom to invent magnetic-levitation technology, allowing an elevator car to travel with no cables at all. This breakthrough allows for previously unimaginable applications such as multiple cars sharing the same shaft, the capability for a single ride to include both vertical and horizontal travel, and even the ability to integrate with other means of transportation such as movable walkways or subway systems. It will liberate architects, who currently design buildings around core elevator shafts to create new, unrestricted designs. It’s also poised to offer a significant cost savings to construction companies and building operators.

The company is hoping their unorthodox approach will pay off and help them grow their current 12.2% share of the worldwide elevator market significantly. The new technology, called the MULTI, represents the single biggest elevator breakthrough in over 160 years and will be available for sale in late 2017.

The engineers at ThyssenKrupp shattered conventional wisdom by challenging the very foundation of their field. It was a ‘given’ that all elevators operate with a shaft and cable system, like a giant yo-yo carrying passengers. Breaking free from this set belief allowed the team to explore new options and discover fresh possibility.

What set beliefs are you holding onto? What immovable standards shackle your industry from change? Confronting those core assumptions will lead you to fresh possibility. If you think about it, nearly every game-changing breakthrough was born form a fundamental destruction of well-established beliefs.

It’s time to create your own Wonkavator. And just like good old Charlie Bucket, your customers and industry will look on with amazement and simply say, “Wow.”