Jon Gertner Author of the Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

Learn How to Develop a Revolutionary Culture of Innovation at Your Company

The New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) is pleased to have Jon Gertner author of The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, as the keynote speaker at its Annual Meeting on Thursday, July 12 from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Twp., NJ. You will not want to miss this opportunity to learn first-hand how Bell Labs was able to motivate its team to develop the revolutionary products that changed the way we all live, work and play.

Gertner explores in The Idea Factory how Bell Labs became one of the most innovative companies in the world. He brings the reader into the minds of some of the greatest visionaries of the twentieth century – the engineers and scientists that changed all of our lives. People like Mervin Kelly, Claude Shannon, William Shockley, Walter Brattain and John Bardeen – who had a tremendous influenced on the dawn of the information age. Every electronic devise on earth has some of Bell Labs’ DNA.

The name Bell Labs is synonymous with cutting-edge invention. From the telephone to the transistor, semiconductor, radar, C programming language, mobile phone and the first global communications satellite; Bell Labs produced more major discoveries and Nobel laureates than most universities. It filed for 17,000 patents from 1925 to 1980.

“The discoveries at Bell Labs had been essential to the progress of society at large. They have not only made things better, but have created new services and industries,” added N.R. Danielian, a federal lawyer and author of the book entitled AT&T: The Story of Industrial Conquest.

What defined Bell Labs from its inception was a large, brilliant, interdisciplinary team that was encouraged to work together. It was an “institute of creative technology,” according to Gertner. “The Labs’ research department was conceived upon the notion of constantly looking far ahead, toward the goal of big and risky breakthroughs. Bell Labs’ other dimension – the ability to exhaustively develop a product and get it ready for mass manufacturing and deployment – was perhaps even more crucial to its success. To think long-term toward the revolutionary, and to simultaneously think near-term toward manufacturing, is the most vital combination,” according to Gertner.

Many modern day tech companies try to copy Bell Labs’ organizational structure, cultural and open office environment. Technology giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook all hire brilliant engineers and scientists that work in an informal, creative environment that rewards innovative thinking. Even so, former Bell executives claim that The Labs cannot be emulated. “If the Bell Labs buildings and equipment were destroyed, Bell Labs would survive. On the other hand, if its people were removed, Bell Labs would be destroyed. Bell Labs was a human, and not a material organization,” added Gertner.

Gertner notes that Bell Labs “it didn’t worry about competition, didn’t worry about funding (AT&T provided $4.7 billion a year in today’s dollars to fund research), but it did worry about producing something that was going to matter.” Gertner continues “it was the monopoly profits of AT&T that allowed Bell Labs to focus on basic research and the long-term without worrying about near-term financial results.” Today, research is generally more constrained which hampers the innovative process, and as a result; its outcome.
NJTC members who attend its Annual Meeting will learn how to develop a culture within their own company that supports and inspires new product development through collaboration. Gertner will give the audience best practices to keep your company on the front-line of best-in-class innovation.

Steve Jobs once said, “The most difficult and important thing to create was not an innovative product but a great organization that could continually create innovative products. That required joining creative people with product designers and great engineers so that imagination and technology could be connected.” Gertner will explain to the audience how Bell Labs was able to nurture its team to consistently deliver the pioneering products needed to advance technology. Register for NJTC’s Annual Meeting today. CLICK HERE

Eileen Monesson
PRCounts, llc


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Author:NJ Tech Council

The New Jersey Tech Council helps companies grow and supports the tech, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the state and region.

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