Aaaaahh, Mr. Isaacson, how well you write! This is undoubtedly an exciting, well-written and inspiring book for readers interested in innovation, but also for anyone whose curiosity is piqued by learning about the tireless innovators who make our lives better, even if they don’t think innovation is “their thing”.
While the book focuses on key players who made pivotal breakthroughs in mathematics and technology, the author argues that the thrust of these breakthroughs came not through computer programming but the digital revolution, a concept much broader in its definition.
Although we usually think that progress is made in strides, this is not the case: progress is the result of many baby steps that add up until one day we’re dazzled by an innovation beyond anything we could have imagined.
There is a phrase that, while not included in the book, seems relevant here, and that is that “flexibility attracts talent and talent generates trends”. A sentiment that we share with the book, because the author argues that “innovation occurs when ripe seeds fall on fertile ground”. A beautiful way of saying that the environment determines whether the seed will grow or not, and we note that it’s a given that the seed will fall.
That is, in many cases innovation is the sum of highly collaborate efforts of several individuals using the right tools in the right environment. And, like we always say, we can’t forget that “the distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success”.
This book is full of inspiring stories, a number of which caught our attention, such as the anecdote that the US military, specifically its Air Force, weekly publishes a list of ideas and needs for the civilian market so that interested companies can contribute their solutions. As a source of inspiration it’s not a bad idea, your client providing clues to what he needs!
We can’t forget that innovation also means drawing inspiration from and (why not?) copying others. Jobs and his colleagues took ideas they were introduced to at Xerox PARC and then improved, implemented and marketed them.
Here at Dicere we never get tired of saying that technology isn’t everything when it comes to inspiration. In fact, technology can even serve as an excuse not to innovate for some people. That’s just how we are!
This is how it begins…
“POETICAL SCIENCE. In May 1833, when she was seventeen, Ada Byron was among the young women presented at the British royal court. Family members had worried about how she would acquit herself, given her high-strung and independent nature, but she ended up behaving, her mother reported,” tolerably well.” Among those Ada met that evening were the Duke of Wellington, whose straightforward manner she admired, and the seventy-nine-year-old French ambassador Talleyrand, who struck her as “an old monkey”.”