A better society is one that encourages innovation

Monday, May 12 2014


Last night, I met a legend. Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. He delivered the keynote speech at the official opening of the International Telecoms Week 2014 and had some very interesting things to say.

What I find really interesting is that Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web because he needed to. At the time he was working at CERN and needed a way to keep track of ever-expanding projects. So he took some existing ideas – internet and hypertext – and came up with an idea that solved his problem. And in the process, he changed the world.

Given all that´s happened since then, Tim Berners Lee said he didn´t feel particulary grown up in the sense of still feeling very excited about what´s going to happen next.

His recommendation was really to cultivate “stretch friends”. Stating that “A better society is one that encourages innovation. If it is restricted by our own imagination, then we´ve lost”.

Innovation is rarely a bolt from the blue that is unrelated to anything that has come before. More often, it is the evolution of existing ideas adapted to new end-user demands. That is very much the case in our industry.

Since Tim Berners Lee invented the web 25 years ago, the fundamentals of what we do haven’t changed. What has changed is the scale. Ever-growing demand requires constant innovation.

And it’s a challenge that we welcome. From being the first carrier to sell wavelengths in 1998 to breaking the terabit barrier in 2011, we’re constantly innovating. And we’re not planning on stopping anytime soon as demonstrated by the recent launch of an industry-first managed DRX-solution enabling 4G roaming for operators.