C. Engdahl reporting from FEI2010
Case Study of Disruptive Technology
FEI2010 Presenter: Steve Sassoon, inventor of the digital camera, Kodak
The development story for the original digital camera is both entertaining and informative. Steve Sassoon of Kodak, who was not only there when this story took place, but was in fact the principal character in it, tells the story with a sense of humility and humor. He clearly is an intelligent guy, whose abilities are not simply technical in nature as an engineer, but also social. The development of the digital camera is a story as much about organizational navigation as it is about technical development. It is a story that very easily could have been called '20 Years in the Making: The Disruptive Technology of the Digital Camera.'
The first digital camera was created in 1976. The first commercial digital camera wasn't introduced until 1994. I'll not actually attempt to retell the story, but rather communicate the lessons from it. Know that it's pretty interesting though, and if you have the chance I'd suggest you learn about it.
Here are Steve's lesson for as he puts it 'Surviving Disruptive Technology.'
1. Understand corporate culture and speak to it
2. You do have friends, they just might be hard to find sometimes
3. Public relations is an important aspect to innovation. Be honest about the capabilities of your innovation. Always be positive. Speak about the virtues of the disruptive innovation, not necessarily the negative aspects of what its supplanting.
4. All roadblocks are temporary
5. Be patient, persuasive, and persistent