Innovation Outside the Ivory Tower

Innovation Outside the Ivory Tower

Great inventors and innovators seem heroic, solitary, driven by insights far beyond the capacity of ordinary humans. Or were they, to some degree, just in the right place at the right time?

In a recent article in the WSJ, author Matt Ridley notes that 23 people had invented some type of light bulb before Thomas Edison. He proposes that, “Technology will find its inventors, rather than vice versa.” (click here to read more)

We spoke about the disconnect between scientific research and revolutionary new technology with Michael A Marasco, Director and Clinical Professor of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Northwestern University:

“Xerox PARC is a great example to illustrate how research did not drive innovation. PARC developed the PC, laser printer, graphical user interface, and computer networking but entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs created the innovations that truly leveraged that work. Xerox is not associated with any of these multi- billion dollar markets. Was the Mac a technological evolution from a lab or the ‘productization’ of Xerox PARC research by an entrepreneur?”

Would viewing the evolution of technology as a practical process, not an academic one, help your company drive innovation?