Tim Berners-Lee - Creativity and the Internet
Tim Berners-Lee (1955- )
English inventor (pictured right), of the World Wide Web (which became part of the
Designer of the first website in 1991 at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva.
He now works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA.
Why is he so creative?
He is motivated not by money but by the pursuit of knowledge and
He didn’t patent the World Wide Web (which would have made him incredibly wealthy) and wants Internet to:
- be free, open and responsible.
- satisfy people’s needs throughout the world.
- achieve “connective creativity” i.e. people sharing knowledge to solve problems.
2. Reflection, analysis and integration
Creativity, he says, results from:
- thinking up a flow of half-formed ideas
- after much thought, joining them together to produce something that works
(like the Internet).
Berners-Lee (pictured right in 2005) says the ‘Eureka!’ moment of an invention is the result of a lot of
hard work to eliminate possible solutions that don’t work.
3. Passion and commitment
His boundless energy comes from passionate enthusiasm for his work.
He was inspired by his
- enthusiastic mathematics and chemistry teachers.
- parents (both lovers of mathematics and computers).
His family didn’t have a television which gave him more time to devote to science and mathematics.
“Watching television drains your brain out”, he says .
At Oxford University he:
- studied physics which he described as “fun” .
His physics degree was an ideal scientific foundation for developing the World Wide Web.
4. Curious inquiry
Berners-Lee (pictured right in 2012):
- challenges conventional wisdom.(encouraged by his parents)
- constantly makes things (like computers out of cardboard boxes!).
“The excitement of solving problems motivates me”, he says.
5. Exercise and relaxation
He likes walking and biking.
- helps him come up with new ideas.
He developed the World Wide Web with academic colleagues and students, sharing and developing his ideas.
He believes that this “spirit of collaboration” is vital to creativity.
His development of the World Wide Web was done on the side for fun, whilst he was working on another major
Key quotes on the
The Web is humanity connected.
The power of the Web is its universality.
Web users ultimately want to get at data quickly and easily. They don’t care as much about attractive sites and
The Web is a grassroots revolution
Key quote on
The excitement of solving problems motivates me.
Key quote on science and
Unless technology respects human needs, it is worthless.