“Everything that can be invented, has (already) been invented.”
Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
Each time I run across this quote, I chuckle a little. The U.S Office of Patents declared the work of innovation over in 1899. It appeared to Mr. Duell that nothing else of any real significance could be invented to change the quality of life. He must have sat down, wrote words like purpose, mission, strategic plan and goals and then placed a checkmark after each one. It is finished, what we have is what we are going to have from this day forward. Seems funny, and yet this thinking finds its way into our world today.
I talked on a phone connected to a wall for years and never thought a thing about it. I drove a car while unsuccessfully juggling a paper map, and never thought a thing about it. I even refused to take typing in high school declaring I didn’t really need it, and never thought a thing about it.
These acts that I took for granted told me this was what was available and what would continue to be available. As we can all see, a new idea or a new invention has replaced these actions I once took for granted. Without a crystal ball, it is hard to tell for sure what the future holds. In my mind, that is the single characteristic of empowerment. Empowerment is to give someone else the power to create their own dwelling. Let’s create the best now we can, then let’s prepare ourselves to someday give it away and watch it reinvent into something new.