The Innovators

Fascinating book from Walter Isaacson.  An indispensable guide to how innovation really happens.

Two historic innovations that caused computers to revolutionize how we live:  microchips that allowed computers to be small enough to be personal appliances, and packet-switched networks allowed computers to be connected to nodes on a web. The merger of the personal computer and the Internet have enabled digital creativity, content sharing, community formation and social networking to blossom.

Here are five of Isaacson’s observations:

  • First and foremost creativity is a collaborative process. Innovation comes from teams more often than from the lightbulb of the lone genius.
  • The digital age may seem revolutionary but it was based on expanding the ideas of the previous generation.
  • Even with the Internet as a tool for collaboration a big lesson of digital age innovation is the benefit of teams in physical proximity.  This is particularly true for teams that join visionaries with operations managers who can implement.
  • The biggest revolution of all is Internet collaboration which has led to innovative systems like Google page ranks, Wikipedia, Linux software and now products like Airbnb and Uber.
  • True creativity is the result of the intersection of Liberal Arts and Technology. This is the source of our imagination, our originality and our humanity. This is what humans can bring to  the party.