Working for the DIG or “Digital Innovation Group” holds a legacy filled with a history of “game-changing” and “disruptive” introduction to commerce throughout history by Sears Holdings Corporation. Since starting my work in this group at Sears, I have been mapping out on a timeline the history and trajectory of Sears as it maps onto developments, inventions and the evolution of society as a whole. The attached jpg shows some of this work in progress. Here’s a detailed view of the history of Sears.
What is impressive about what the timeline tells us is that it took 100 years from the invention of the telegraph until the first iPod hit the shelves of the world market. In that time, we saw the invention of the television, color printing, the concepts foundational to artificial intelligence, airplanes, radio, advertising… The next 30 year chunk of time holds credit cards, bar codes, the internet, VCRs, Cellphones and pong DOS and Apple, the LCD screen. The next 10 years is the World Wide Web, eCommerce, WiFi, the economy transforming itself from one of scale to choice. The next six years comes the iPod, iPhone/Android… Until we find ourselves in our current situation, on many “tipping points” with our evolving models of finance, globalism, technology, privacy, machine learning, artificial intelligence, new forms of interaction. The future, according to most, will culminate in 2025 when humans merge with machines, also known as the “Age of Convergence”. The alarming point is that the acceleration of change is increasing and we currently find ourselves (in retail) in a revolution of sorts much like Sears faced when it transitioned from mail-order to in-store retail. We find ourselves grappling with concepts like “integrated retail” and “social shopping”.
It is interesting to think about what the immediate and far futures will hold in this arena.