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Q:In preparing for my next class in Project Management (innovation and using chaos), I am looking for innovations that have changed the way we do things over the past ten or fifteen years. Your input will be appreciated! For example, at airports they are setting up small parking lots within 5 minutes of the terminals for people to wait in their cars, without paying a fee, until they get a call from the passenger they will pick up on their cell phones. I'd like to meet the person who had the idea and who pushed it through the bureaucratic molasses because it must have been a real challenge!

A:15 years ago was ... While the world wide web existed, the big innovation of the time was the ability to look at a picture over http. Very few non-geeks used email professionally. Relational databases existed, but they were not as ubiquitous and easy to program as they soon would be. There was no such thing as RAD programming. Oh, it had been thought of, just not adopted. Borland was still 4 years away from releasing OWL 2 (and destroying a > 85% market share in compilers). However, in 1990 or so, Borland C++ 1.0 shipped, the first mainstream C++ compiler for windows.. In 1990 Windows 3.0 shipped. This is the first version of Windows that anybody really heard of. This may seem obvious, but personal computers grew up during the 90s. I can't think of anything that has changed the way more people work than that. Project Management, IMO, has gotten a large boost from software assistance. MS Project has the ability to do automatic PERT analysis, does critical path analysis and more. While I will be the first one to say that software does not define a process, nor does it manage people, it definitely makes that job easier. I know I work much differently for having Excel and Project than I would without those tools. My favorite cartoon, of all cartoons, way before Dilbert, is a King directing his forces in a great battle. Behind him, and pleading for his attention are two 'minions', clerks if you will who want to introduce a salesman to the King. The King is angered and the caption under the cartoon is "Don't bother me with stupid ideas! Can't you see I'm in the middle of a battle?" The kicker is that this salesman is trying to sell a machine gun which in two seconds would end the war but the King, in his arrogance of ignorance, will not look at the innovation. When Hitler's airplanes struck Poland, the Polish Generals 'knew' their cavalry would take care of things. When the lab people in Switzerland showed the owners and managers the idea of a quartz crystal... they were shunted out of the meeting and in their infinite wisdom the managers and owners did not even bother to patent the idea. One year later, most were out of business.

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