The Strategist

The Story Of Innovation Is Linked With Warfare Technology

03/17/2015 - 12:55

The technology of warfare is responsible for innovative discoveries that have been affecting the civilian life-style from a long time.
War history provides an insight into the subject. Greg Satell highlights few such examples from the World Wars that played a crucial life-changing role.

Greg Satell – 14 March 2015- writes that history of warfare prepares the foundations for tomorrow’s technological innovations. To a large extent, even in the time of peace, it is the development of warfare technology in many forms of weapons, including missiles, and bombs, affect the social life of a common man. Moreover, a large portion of the financial budget of a nation is used to invest on security system by various intelligence organizations like the C.I.A. In fact many of the life changing technologies like the Infobahn and “self driven cars” were first discovered by military agencies. Therefore, Max Boot, in his book, “War Made New”, helps us glimpse into the study of the war histories that led to game changing innovations.
Technology in various forms like steam engine acted like a catalyst in the first ever “industrial revolution”, the discovery of electricity along with the combustion engines caused the following one, whereas “word processors” and spreadsheets in Microsoft Office prepared the ground for today’s path breaking 3D printing tools. But what is most interesting that we often forget, when an innovation materializes itself, most often its utilitarian side remains a mystery even to its creator. Consequently, many a times a new invention fails to receive its due recognition for quite some period of time. In fact Boot has a particular example to illustrate the same through the scenario of a sea warfare that took place between Italy and Austria in the year of 1866. The said war was termed a draw in the gun fighting; however an Italian iron craft rammed into an enemy vessel and managed to sink it, as a result ramming into the enemy ship became a new naval strategy before they realised the usefulness of massive iron vessels over wooden ones that could provide a stronger firing line.
The usage of tanks like “the Blitzkrieg”, developed by the Germans during the Second World War, is a well known phenomenon. However, little do most people know that the warfare strategy of tank was, in fact, of a British origin. British were reluctant to trust an innovative method of “steel plated landships” conceived by Winston Churchill, which would easily break down during the First World War.
However, during the Second World War, Germany discovered the latent potentials of the early trials of tank warship and adapted it alongside the air force and radio supporting system which came as a breakthrough in the war strategies. Thus, it is a testimony to the fact that at times the novel inventions fail in the first trial but a second person, learning from the previous failures can take them to a new height altogether.
Innovation should also go hand in hand with experience that allows the best to be harvested from it, like the innovative development of Blitzkrieg and the experiential combination of radio support which proved a master stroke. Yet, there remains another step to climb in order to reap a holistic benefit of an innovation consisting of the touch of perfection and a mass scale production. It is this very strategy which during the WW II, contributed to the success of U.S. and today it continues to win the market for the Apple Company under Tim Cook’s guidance.


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