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Innovation - we've got it taped!

Why the old ones are (sometimes) still the good ones

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment a computer room in the early days of the industry. Chances are you'll picture large wardrobe-sized metal cabinets whirring away with white-coated attendants tending to the machines. And it won't be long before your gaze lands on the ubiquitous spools of tape being loaded and unloaded.

Which might give us a smug feeling as we look at the storage options for our current generation of computers - probably based on some incredibly fast access high-capacity solid state flash drive. But the tape drive hasn't gone away. In fact it's alive and well and backing up our most precious memories. Look inside the huge data farms operated by Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft Azure or anyone else and you'll find large computers - and lots of tape. Thousands of kilometres of it, containing everything from your precious family photos to email backups to data from research projects like the Large Hadron Collider.

This blog post explores some of the innovation history involved and highlights some lessons for innovation management today.

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