Who invented the computer mouse?
a.) Douglas Engelbart, scientist
b.)Xerox PARC engineers
c.)Steve Jobs, entrepreneur
The answer is “yes” according to Malcom Gladwell, author and The New Yorker Magazine contributor. In the May 16, 2011 edition, Mr. Gladwell proposes that innovation is a process. He submits that “the mouse was conceived by the computer scientist Douglas Engelbart, developed by Xerox PARC, and made marketable by Apple.”
Mr. Gladwell cites the development of high tech military weapons as another example of evolutionary innovation. Referencing a study called “The Culture of Military Innovation”, he writes that the unlikely partners in high tech weapons development were the 1970’s Soviet military intelligence, American entrepreneurs, and an outnumbered Israeli army.
Innovation requires vision, design and necessity. Mr. Gladwell contends that it’s difficult for a visionary to design and for a designer to execute market strategies. He believes that Mr. Jobs’ (and the Israeli army’s) genius lay in understanding the vision, applying the design and finding the market target.
Mr. Gladwell is the author of Blink, The Tipping Point, and Outliers. And, just out, his latest is What the Dog Saw.