Timeline of digital work

The information revolution is a discontinuity in economic history

James Plunkett

Modern work is in a state of flux as part of the discontinuous change brought on by the information revolution. Perhaps, by considering the factors that shaped the ways we work today we can better understand what its future might look like and whether a dominant design will emerge or whether work will continue changing.

The cultural changes and technological inventions that created our experience of digital work

2021
May 1

The term “The Great Resignation” is first used by Anthony Klotz, organisational psychologist and professor at Texas A & M University

2020
April 9

National lockdowns and enforced working from home force many workplaces to quickly adopt digital technology and remote working practices

2016
July 15

3.7 billion people are connected to the Internet

July 7

1,000,000,000 websites on the Internet

2012
July 15

The population of the Internet reached 2 billion

April 13

Union membership in the UK drops below 6 million for the first time since the 1940s

2009
April 23

Tina Brown coins the term ‘Gig economy’

2007
April 13

First iPhone and the start of the smart phone revolution

2005
July 15

The population of the Internet reached 1 billion

2003
July 15

Myspace launched

2001
September 12

The agile manifesto for software development is written

April 19

FANUC, a Japanese robotics company, begins operating as a ‘lights-out’ factory where robots build other robots

2000
July 14

10,000,000 websites on the Internet

1998
September 4

Google incorporated

1996
July 18

1,000,000 websites on the Internet

1991
April 18

Invention of WiFi

1985
April 5

Symbolics Computer Company is the first business to register a commercial dot-com domain name

1983
July 15

Motorola created the first mobile phone, the Motorola DynaTac

1980
April 10

First laptop

1976
April 1

Apple founded

1975
April 4

Microsoft founded

1973
April 20

First portable cell phone

1972
April 20

The term “telecommuting” was coined

1970
April 10

Equal Pay Act in the U.K.

1963
July 15

The term “hacker” originates with MIT pranks

April 11

Equal Pay Act in the U.S.

1960
April 21

Open plan office layout widely adopted

1957
October 1

Fairchild semiconductor founded

1950
April 11

Cross-functional teams

1948
July 14

Claude Shannon, a Bell Labs mathematician, is credited for having laid out the foundations of digitalization in his pioneering 1948 article, A Mathematical Theory of Communication

1947
December 23

The transistor is invented by William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain.

July 15

Schumpeter argued that the innovation and technological change of a nation come from the entrepreneurs or wild spirits. He coined the word Unternehmergeist, German for “entrepreneur-spirit”, and asserted that “… the doing of new things or the doing of things that are already being done in a new way” stemmed directly from the efforts of entrepreneurs.

1939
January 1

Hewlett Packard founded

1931
July 9

Neil H McElroy, of P&G, invented the concept of a Product Manager

1885
November 11

Stanford university founded