IT innovation ain't what it used to be

What's called innovation in tech these days is little more than porting the same old ideas to new platforms

Have we in the field of information technology run out of ideas?

A few weeks ago I presided over a lively discussion about whether the PC or the iPad is a more suitable platform for user innovation.

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I suppose I should have included other tablets as well, although the alternatives are mostly second-rate iPad wannabes that show little or no original thinking as to what a tablet should do. What would have been the point?

The discussion (and the absence of original thinking among other tablet manufacturers) got me to thinking about IT innovation. The more I thought about it, the more Prozac I needed. As far as I can tell, there isn't any and hasn't been for quite some time.

What's he talking about? Has he been asleep? We have open source. We have cloud computing. We have the whole smartphone and tablet revolution. He must be desperate for attention to start trolling like this!

Hey, I heard that. So let me explain why none of these qualify as IT innovation. Doing so calls for a brisk walk through the history of information technology and the true innovations associated with it.

A brief history of IT innovation

First off, a little clarification of terms. By "information technology," I mean the use of computing tools in business, and by "innovation," I mean a technology, strategy, or approach that created the ability to do something new and significantly different from anything that had been done before.

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