Typewriters, computers, innovation and change!


Watching the BBC TV news on Tuesday  (20th November 2012) I was struck by several items. The first, at around 6.15 am, was a short ‘magazine’ piece on the end of the typewriter, which showed the very last Brother typewriter being produced at Brothers’ factory in Wrexham.

What a remarkable device the typewriter turned out to be from the very first successful commercial model produced by Remington way back in 1870 to the last one produced on Tuesday. (Not many products can boast of a 142 year life cycle or produce such an amazing production curve.)

In our attempt to increase the level of Economic Inclusion the Green Paper made the following recommendation:-

1.5 Foster and develop the entrepreneurial spirit of our young people and our migrant communities

In promoting this we are also promoting the need for innovation that lies behind it.

Sometimes It’s Hard To Think Outside The Box

Would it not be truly wonderful if, as a result of the Green Paper initiative (soon to be White Paper), someone from Birmingham went on to invent and develop the next device which will revolutionise our world in the way the typewriter did (and to some extent continues to do)?

A second news item, later in the day (about 6 pm) was the announcement by Hewlett  Packard (HP) the American computer and printer giant, that it was reporting a $6.85bn net loss.

Here we see the speed of change our world is subject to. On the same day that the typewriter becomes obsolete, we also begin to see the dark clouds of  obsolescence  hovering around the laptop and the computer, as smart phones and tablets begin to ‘elbow’ them out.

Strangely enough yesterday morning (21st Nov) we learn that plastic electronics, also known as organic and printable electronics, is an emerging field, which some experts say will revolutionise the electronics industry. (As one printer dies an new one is being born!)

It is in this new, rapidly changing world, that our young entrepreneurs and innovators will have to live and breathe. So we need to consider not only what kind of skills an individual requires to be able to operate in this way, but also what kind of ‘person’ they need to be, to be flexible and adaptable enough to cope with such speed of change.

Innovative organisations and market leaders like Google and Facebook have introduced radically new work environments and management methods to foster the creativity they need to help drive their business.

[Check out the Google office at CA  with its gym, idiosyncratic work spaces, amazing restaurants etc.]

Is this the model our schools and colleges should be looking at to help foster the level of confidence, creativity, and courage required to deal with the rapid speed of change in the modern business world?

At the end of the recent Social Inclusion Summit the Bishop urged us to

let the radical change begin!

Are we ready to be this radical?

Let us know!

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