The emerging generation of E-readers, Amazons Kindle, Barnes & Nobles Nook, and now the Ipad are as disruptive a technology as the invention of the printing press by Johannes Guttenberg in the early 1400’s.
Guttenberg’s invention of the printing press was in fact a number of innovations put together from a range of skills, some of which he had developed as a goldsmith, applied in an entirely new way.
Most innovations take bits of seemingly unrelated technology or behaviours and combine them in a different way, creating value for the user.
The ability to see possible connections, and synergies between seemingly unrelated technologies and circumstances, and see them before anyone else is the essence of innovation. Steve Jobs did not invent the technologies that made the ipod, he just saw a number of unrelated bits of technology and put them together, and then single mindedly marketed the outcome. The whole exercise has been about changing mind sets, seeing options others are not seeing, connecting the dots, and being in there first.