Finally, I am binge-watching the last season of the delightful period drama Downton Abbey. As I’ve watched each episode, I am amused with the myriad of “new disruptive innovations” featured in the early 1900s’ drama and the characters’ reactions to them.
There were no less than seven innovations from electricity, to the bicycle, the typewriter, a sewing machine, the telephone, and an automobile featured. Each and every time the new-fangled novelty was met with skepticism. Actually, they were more than skeptical, they were afraid. The innovations challenged their comfort-zone and forced the characters to do things differently or simply be left behind. As Mrs. Patmore, the downstairs cook, exclaimed when she first heard the ringing of the telephone, “Oh my Lord, listen to that! It’s like the cry of the banshee! I wouldn’t touch that thing with a ten foot pole!” Yet with each subsequent episode the disruptive innovation became a way of life. Why? Each new device made their lives easier, more productive and efficient, and more enjoyable. It not only helped make their personal lives easier, it assisted in meeting the demands of the Manor.