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Title: User-Driven Innovation: The World's First Business Computer
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Book Co Ltd
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Today every business has its computers. This book looks back to a time when the business computer was unknown. It was almost fifty years ago that a British catering company, then a household name for its teashops and swiss rolls, identified the part that only a computer could play in running its business. Since none existed or was in prospect, it set about designing and building a business computer of its own.
This book is a firsthand account of how this astonishing user-innovation came about. It is a flesh and blood, warts and all story told by the participants. It brims over with the enthusiasm that enabled the unlikeliest of organisations to lead the way into the future that has become so familiar to us.
The narrative sketches the brief twenty-year life and times of LEO, the computer and the organisation that resulted. It tells of the trip to the USA in 1947 to discover the truth about the 'Electronic Brain' that was being built for ballistic studies. It goes on to relate how a machine especially attuned to the much more exacting demands of time-critical office work was built and programmed, leading to the running of the world's first regular, routine business application in November 1951. There are individual accounts of some of the earliest jobs written by the consultants who brought them to fruition. It concludes with the different strands coming together to provide the essence of the LEO credo of comprehensive, integrated, secure, action-stimulating implementations. These were exciting times in which the dynamic of an extraordinary group of people, produced the world's first business computer operation.