Zajímavý článek z New York Times se ohlíží za historií inovací v Bell Labs.

Vyzdvihuje, že primární výzkum i výroba museli být pod jednou střechou.

His fundamental belief was that an “institute of creative technology” like his own needed a “critical mass” of talented people to foster a busy exchange of ideas. But innovation required much more than that. Mr. Kelly was convinced that physical proximity was everything; phone calls alone wouldn’t do. Quite intentionally, Bell Labs housed thinkers and doers under one roof. Purposefully mixed together on the transistor project were physicists, metallurgists and electrical engineers; side by side were specialists in theory, experimentation and manufacturing.

Autor pak silně naznačuje, že většina „inovací” dneška je proti těm z Bell Labs málo významná. Nemíříme dost vysoko a/nebo nemáme trpělivost.

By one definition, innovation is an important new product or process, deployed on a large scale and having a significant impact on society and the economy, that can do a job (as Mr. Kelly once put it) “better, or cheaper, or both.” Regrettably, we now use the term to describe almost anything. It can describe a smartphone app or a social media tool; or it can describe the transistor or the blueprint for a cellphone system. The differences are immense. One type of innovation creates a handful of jobs and modest revenues; another, the type Mr. Kelly and his colleagues at Bell Labs repeatedly sought, creates millions of jobs and a long-lasting platform for society’s wealth and well-being.

Nejsem si jist, jestli se to dá zjednodušit až takhle, protože „jenom aplikace” mohou dnes být nástroje, které významně zvyšují produktivitu a ted umožňují nám dělat více a levněji.

But to consider the legacy of Bell Labs is to see that we should not mistake small technological steps for huge technological leaps. It also shows us that to always “move fast and break things,” as Facebook is apparently doing, or to constantly pursue “a gospel of speed” (as Google has described its philosophy) is not the only way to get where we are going. Perhaps it is not even the best way. Revolutions happen fast but dawn slowly. To a large extent, we’re still benefiting from risks that were taken, and research that was financed, more than a half century ago.

Každopádně stojí za přečtení a za zamyšlení.

Všechny citace byli z článku True Innovation, The New York Times.