Grow Your Wiki

Engelbart’s Great Ideas: Why Did Adoption Take 40 Years?

From Harvard Business Publishing, Scott Berkun writes about the day in 1968 when Doug Engelbart demoed the computer mouse, hypertext links, real-time text editing, shared-screen teleconferencing, and more - all technologies we take for granted today - and why it has taken 40 years for them to become so widely used:

One might ask “Why are we so stupid that we can’t adopt good ideas faster?” But the problem isn’t about being smart or stupid. New ideas travel through cultures at much slower rates that we realize, especially if the idea requires 1) throwing something away and replacing it with something else 2) re-learning skills or 3) co-ordination by large independent organizations.

All new ideas gain adoption or face rejection due in part to factors beyond our control. It’s rare for one new idea to entirely replace another — we may very well be using mice and keyboards in the year 2108. That’s because finding better ideas is only the first step. We also need an opportunity to make the change.


Related Posts:

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. This question is very much related to the one I ask in my work, including this older draft: “Wikipedia’s heritage: vision, pragmatics, and happenstance”
    http://reagle.org/joseph/2005/historical/digital-works.html

  2. Another reason Engelbart’s technology failed to achieve wide acceptance is that all the geeks of that generation were focused on artificial intelligence. The notion of a networked computer as a way to augment human thinking and facilitate collaboration was totally radical to the commonly accepted notion that computers should outright replace human thought.

    Reply to “Engelbart’s Great Ideas: Why Did Adoption Take 40 Years?”

    About

    Subscribe to RSS

    Read Future Changes in other languages:  


    Recent Comments
    Consulting
    Stewart Mader presenting at Northern Voice 2008 The key to successful wiki adoption is to create the conditions for steady growth. I'll help you plan your strategy, run a pilot, and build a hub for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and project management.

    Profile and Biography | Hire Me
    Books
    Wikipatterns book: a practical guide to improving productivity and collaboration in your organization Wikipatterns
    A practical guide to improving productivity and collaboration in your organization.
    Buy the book
    Using Wiki in Education wiki book Using Wiki in Education
    10 case studies from education show how to collaboratively build curriculum, guide students' teamwork, and manage research projects.
    Buy the book
    Articles
    Your Wiki Isn’t Wikipedia: How to Use It for Technical Communication Your Wiki Isn’t Wikipedia (PDF download)
    How to use a wiki for technical communication and project management. Published in the January, 2009 issue of Intercom, the magazine of the Society for Technical Communication.
    5 Effective Wiki Uses and How Companies Benefit From Them 5 Effective Wiki Uses (PDF download)
    Five ways your business can benefit from using a wiki. Published in the August, 2008 issue of Website Magazine.
    All Articles
    Search

    Popular Posts 21 Days of Wiki Adoption Blogroll