A Heritage of Innovation: SRI’s First Half Century

SRI International, which began life as Stanford Research Institute, has now been in existence for  over 75 years. From its beginnings at  Stanford University, where it was intended to serve industry in the Western United States, SRI has grown to a  worldwide research organization. As a nonprofit  research and development institute whose areas of work are defined by the predilections of its individual  researchers, SRI serves a broad range of government and commercial sectors.  

This book draws from over 50,000 projects the institute has undertaken and, in the scope of perhaps 60 such projects or areas of work, conveys the nature and substance of SRI. Such work includes origins of personal computing, the use of lasers in retinal treatment, a compelling method of minimally invasive surgery, the beginnings of Disneyland, how SRI serves the broad education community, or about  SRI’s efforts to help establish a middle class for a newly independent India in the 1950s, you will enjoy this insight into a world of innovation. 

Although the book is mainly about individual projects over SRI’s first 50 years or so, it also gives some personal accounts from SRI alum Don Nielson of SRI’s own history, how the institute did business (at the time of publication), what its then-aspirations were, and the atmosphere of problem-solving and innovation the author found in a lifetime of working there.

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  • Appendix A – SRI’s Visibility Problem
  • Appendix B – A Brief History of SRI
  • Appendix C – SRI’s First Board of Directors
  • Appendix D – SRI’s Business Model and the Question of Adaptation
  • Appendix E – The SRI Atmosphere – The Roles of Research Staff and Managers
  • Appendix F – Companies Formed by SRI Alumni – with or without SRI Involvement
  • Appendix G – Laboratory Directorship at SRI – Engelbart’s Experience
  • Appendix H – First Radar Echoes from an Artificial Satellite
  • Appendix I – First Client List for SRI’s Long Range Planning Service
  • Appendix J – SRI Staff Awards

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