Disruptive Ideas Through the Centuries

I don’t know about you, but I keep hearing the words “disrupt” or “disruption.” Most of the people using it act as if it is something new.

At the recent PRSA International conference in Washington, D.C., the talk centered on how the media industry is being totally disrupted. I don’t think any of us would disagree with that.

innovators-9781476708690But disruption is nothing new. Just ask Walter Isaacson, president and CEO Of the Aspen Institute and a noted author. He’s the guy who wrote “Steve Jobs.” His latest book is “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.”

In the book, he writes of Ida Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s, and then explores the fascinating personalities that created the current digital revolution.

Isaacson shared some of the lessons from his book during his talk.

The best uses of technology are when we bring people together. “The great thing about humans,” Isaacson said, “is that we always keep up morally with our technology.”

He added, “If we bind our humanity with technology, our technology will always be as good as we are.”

Creativity is a collaborative effort. Seldom is there a light bulb moment when an idea appears. “Real innovation happens together – on a team,” he says. “Innovation is a team sport.”

Vision without execution is hallucination. He added that it’s important to pair a visionary with a team that can execute it. The flip side, also is true, Isaacson said, which means that “without a visionary, you lose some of the spark.”

Keep it simple. Use simple sentences, he said, “if you want to explain exactly what it is you are going to do.”

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