Current society is conditioned to think that innovation takes place only in big universities, military and large enterprises. However, history proves time and time again that given the right environment, innovation and ground-breaking innovations can take place anywhere.
V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai’s story provides an inspiring message that revolutionary innovations can indeed take place any time, any place, by any body.
In 1978, Dr. Leslie P. Michelson challenged V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai to create an electronic version of the interoffice paper-based mail system, and V.A. Shiva responded with 50,000 lines of code to create the world’s first complete Email system. Prior to 1978, early pioneers in electronic messaging were not interested in creating email, as noted by David Crocker’s statement, “At this time, no attempt is being made to emulate a full-scale inter-organizational mail system.” Furthermore, as Crocker noted “…the fact that the system is intended for use in various organizational contexts and by users of differing expertise makes it almost impossible to build a system which responds to all users’ needs.”
What V.A. Shiva did in 1978 was the ”impossible” by creating “email”, a system that met the needs of all users. Email, as the name suggests, was the electronic version of the interoffice, inter-organizational paper-based mail system. At that time the only way to protect software was through Copyright as patents were not applicable to software. So, V.A. Shiva followed the governance procedures and filed for Copyrights, which he was granted. Recently, he donated the original sourcing materials and programming to the Smithsonian to mark the 30th anniversary of the invention of email. Read more about V.A. Shiva’s invention of email at www.historyofemail.com.
In the case of the invention of email, so-called “historians” have attempted to manipulate the facts to support the multi-million dollar branding campaign of BBN, a subsidiary of Raytheon, a multi-billion dollar defense company that falsely claims it invented email. The PR activities of “historians” defame V.A. Shiva while promoting these vested interests’ false email history. Such deplorable actions promote a perspective that innovation can only occur in big universities, large companies, and the military. These PR activities of “historians” say that innovation is a coveted and prized outcome of an entitled group. This destructive and false narrative, on a more practical note, will not help to create the nearly 1.5 billion jobs that the world needs for the next decade. The facts on V.A. Shiva’s invention of email provide an alternative narrative to the PR activities of “historians”. V.A. Shiva has begun Innovation Corps to prove that the invention of email in Newark, NJ by a 14-year-old was no fluke. Innovation Corps aims to proactively unleash innovation in inner cities, around the globe, to demonstrate that other “Shivas” can create innovations far grander than email.