NTX Magazine Volume 3 - Page 21

The integrated circuit, the frozen margarita, the indoor mall were all borne of North Texas innovation. A pioneering spirit has always been a hallmark of North Texas, from the brave souls who settled and tamed the wild prairie to the pioneers of today, who explore never-beforeseen opportunities in worlds vast, new and unknown. Is it in the water? Local business leaders point to something much bigger: a spirit of can-do innovation that permeates a region laden with resources and unafraid to take the risks and reap the rewards. I nnovation has existed in North Texas since its settling. But in looking for “big” innovations (what Texan doesn’t like big?), one has to think small. Very small. It’s been 55 years since the invention of the integrated circuit, a hallmark of Texas Instruments, the technology innovator that has been impacting the world for more than 80 years. Few companies can match the record of advancements from the creative minds at Texas Instruments, inventions that include such world-changing technology as the first integrated circuit and the first electronic handheld calculator. But a sense of humility, combined with an eagerness to experiment with just about anything, makes for a uniquely Texan approach to invention. North Texans often don’t even realize themselves how monumental a thing this is. Even seven years after introducing the world to the integrated circuit, Jack Kilby shrugged off his invention, predicting, “It won’t be that big a deal in the long term.” Fifty years later, we know better. It continues to touch our lives daily, often subtly but usually profoundly. The integrated cir