Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Destructive Creation: Sputnik to WWW
Disruptive innovation and creative destruction: In 1957, the Russians launched Sputnik 1.
Nikita: That worried the Americans! It threatened their defence system. If Russian rockets could put up a satellite, then their ICBMs were a threat to the U.S.
Hank: So the Americans set up DARPA and one of the things that did was to make a nationwide network of computers so they could communicate even if one area was bombed.
Nikita: Bones of the internet. Trickledown from military technology to civilian technology.
Hank: Trickledown? This was destructive creation affecting everything: from warfare to culture.
Nikita: You mean creative destruction?
Hank: I just thought destructive creation had more impact.
Sometimes a breakthrough in one field has an unexpected effect in another field. Online newspapers displace daily paper deliveries. In this case the beep-beep-beep of Sputnik’s technology heralded massive disruptive innovation. Rocket science jump-starts information communication technology.
Of course the internet didn't just piggyback on Sputnik. See a short film, Internet Pioneers, at http://youtu.be/cttRglPZ7d8