Following is the welcome address for the 40th anniversary celebration of Doug’s “Mother of All Demos” by Curt Carlson, then President and CEO of SRI International, and author of Innovation: The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want.
Watch Curt deliver the address:
Good afternoon. I’m Curt Carlson, President and CEO of SRI International. While I can’t be with you in person today*, I want to welcome you to this very special event. I know you will enjoy the next few hours as you experience first hand Doug’s 1968 demo and hear stories from the people who made it happen.
Doug Engelbart once said, “The better we get, the better we get at getting better.” That idea, combined with the creation of some of the most innovative computing tools ever developed, has been a personal inspiration to all of us who have learned about Doug’s accomplishments.
Most of us think about Doug and his team appropriately in terms of the technologies that have become the foundation for personal computing. But Doug did much more than that. He showed us how to work together in a profoundly more effective way. a way that yields surprisingly better results.
When I first came to SRI I was excited about meeting Doug.But I also wanted to know how he created, with the small incredible SRI team, including Bill Englinsh, the greatest demonstration of computer science ideas ever. When someone achieves something of that magnitude, they are generally thinking about their approach in a fundamentally different way. And as I found out, doug was.
What I came to realize is that, while Demming provided the improvement approach for the industrial age, Doug provided the innovation approach for the knowledge age.
Doug and his team were innovation accelerators. In addition to having a strong vision, they captured the genius of their team, and they worked collaboratively to continuously improve both their tools and their solutions. They ultimately accomplished a tour de force unlike any other in the history of computing.
The team exemplified the disciplined approach to innovation we still use at SRI. We believe that our greatest innovation is the way we work. and at SRI today we continue to apply Doug’s approach in a family of programs, inlucinding the Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Observes program, or CALO[ref]. CALO is a $150m advanced artificial intelligence program to build tools that literally augment human intelligence, one of Doug’s major objectives.
Silicon Valley, the computing industry, and society are indebted to Doug and his team. SRI is honored to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1968 demo, and the people who changed more than computing, they changed the world.
*This speech was delivered on video, pre-recorded due to time zone challenges in the region he would be traveling in at the time of this event.