Interviewed by IdeaConnection

The folks at IdeaConnection interviewed me about Innovation mythology, the rate of change, and how progress happens. The book’s been out for six months, but there were some fun questions here I hadn’t heard before. Here’s an excerpt:

VB: One myth you talk about is the one that says today’s technologies are a logical and foregone conclusion of our past. Do you think the potential existed in the past, for our present to be a very different place? If so, could you speculate in what ways and why?

Scott Berkun:
If we believe that we have free will, and that we have the power to make choices in the present, then we have to believe people 20 or 100 years ago had the same freedom to make choices. We could have had steam powered cars: the first trains and automobiles were in fact steam powered. Many U.S. cities regret pulling out their networks of downtown cable cars, as now it’s prohibitively expensive to retrofit cities with much needed public transportation. The rise of both Microsoft and Google depended heavily on the mistakes of their early competitors and predecessors. Had Xerox, Palo Alto Research Centre, Atari, IBM, or AltaVista made one or two different decisions; we’d have a very different world.

You can read the full interview here.

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