Title: Some Observations on Driving Disruptive Innovation: The Story of the First Digital Camera 

 

Abstract 

The first digital camera and playback system was demonstrated inside of Eastman Kodak in 1975 with no public acknowledgement of this work being made by the company until 2001.  Driving such a disruptive change within a long established and successful enterprise will be described from the point of view of the inventor of that first camera system. Some of the technical, market and cultural challenges that were addressed during the 1975-2001 period will be highlighted. The internal company reaction to these developments will be discussed as well as some of the learned observations about how to deal with disruptive innovation within an established enterprise will be shared. 

Steve Sasson, Inventor of the Digital Camera

Steven was born and raised in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn N.Y. Steven attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy N.Y. and in 1973; he graduated with a BS and a Masters degree in electrical engineering.  

After graduation, Steven began his 35 year career at Eastman Kodak Company as an electrical engineer working in an applied research laboratory. He engaged in a number of early digital imaging projects.  Among these was the design and construction of the first digital still camera and playback system in 1975.  Steven continued to work throughout the 1980s in the emerging field of digital photography receiving over 10 key digital imaging patents. Steven has received numerous recognitions for his work that includes his 2011 election to the National inventors hall of fame, 2009 Economist Magazine Consumer Products Innovation Award and the US National Medal of Technology and Innovation that he received in 2010 from President Obama.