Doug Engelbart

Bootstrap Institute

Large-Scale Collective IQ
50 minutes, 22.9mb, recorded 2004-11-07
Topics: The Future
Dr. Douglas Engelbart invented or influenced the mouse, hypertext, multiple windows, bit-mapped screens, shared screen teleconferencing, and outline processing. But his ideas transcend technology and computer science and reach into the humanitarian. In this presentation, he tells how can we construct a collective vision as to where we are headed and where we should best be headed.

The history of computing has always been marked by individuals who have been years ahead of their time. The nature of computing, its impact on society, and the acceleration of change in turn recursively accelerates change.

In 1962, Dr. Engelbart began focusing his efforts on constructing a conceptual framework that would become his seminal work, originally written in a research report prepared for the Director of Information Sciences of the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. In this work, Dr. Engelbart describes the groundwork for such concepts as augmenting human intellect, improvement infrastructure, co-evolution of artifacts with social-cultural language-practices, and bootstrapping. The motivations for this framework were (and continue to be) the idea that both complexity and urgency are increasing exponentially and that the combination of both complexity and urgency will soon challenge our public and private organizations. Thus, organizations must actively work against the pressures of complexity and urgency to become increasingly faster and smarter at their core missions, and as such, organizations will need to become faster and smarter at how organizations continue to improve.

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Douglas Engelbart, Ph.D., Director and Founder of the Bootstrap Institute, has been a pioneer in human-computer interaction throughout his entire career. Inspired from his experiences as a Naval RADAR officer, he understood that the presentation of and interaction with visual information on a display was an important key to harnessing the power of human sensory, perceptual, and cognitive capacities.

His involvement at the Stanford Research Institute lead to a dozen patents and the production of his 1962 research report that defined both the philosophy and the agenda of his research entitled "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework." He founded the Augmentation Research Center where he and his team developed a number of innovations that were well ahead of the computer revolution. These pioneering innovations included the mouse, hypertext, multiple windows, bit-mapped screens, shared screen teleconferencing, and outline processing.

In 1989, He retired from corporate life and with his daughter, Christina, founded the Bootstrap Institute which strives to form strategic alliances to help improve organizations and society at large, "bootstrapping organizations into the 21st century."
Dr. Engelbart is the recipient of more than 20 patent awards including the patent for the mouse. He has also received a number of prestigious honors including the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 1997, and the Nation Medal of Technology, the highest award for technological achievement in the United States, presented by President Bill Clinton on December 1, 2000.


This presentation is one of a series from the Accelerating Change 2004 held at Stanford University, November 5-7, 2004.

For Team ITC:

  • Description editor: Chase Southard
  • Post-production audio engineer: Gardner Campbell

This free podcast is from our Accelerating Change series.