O'Reilly logo

The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 10. Innovation is always good

The chief cause of problems is solutions.

—Eric Sevareid [158]

In 1903, two crazy young men, without any engineering training or college education, built a machine the world told them couldn't be made. In the frigid 30-mile per hour winds of Kill Devil Hills, a few miles from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright brothers made the first sustained powered flight with a person at the controls (see Figure 10-1). Orville won the coin toss and flew first, but the brothers took turns, making four flights before calling it a day. As amazing as their accomplishment was, it went unnoticed: five boys from the nearby village made up most of the crowd. Only two small newspapers bothered to report on the event because it was seen as a stunt, not a technological breakthrough. It's hard to believe, but the Wright brothers landed their plane on a not very interested planet. The world would have to wait another 30 years for the commercial aviation industry to begin.

An early Wright brothers' glider on a test run at the famed Kill Devil Hills.

Figure 10-1. An early Wright brothers' glider on a test run at the famed Kill Devil Hills.

But the most curious thing about the development of powered flight wasn't the world's lack of interest in the Wright brothers' ideas: it was their pitch to potential investors. They didn't talk about multibillion dollar industries, revolutionizing travel across the planet, or connecting people around the world. ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required