Kirk to Enterprise: How Science Fiction Influences Technology

By Heather Wilde

Elevator Pitch

Gene Roddenberry. Philip K. Dick. Robert Heinlein. H.G. Wells. Frank Herbert.

These names are known to Engineers and Innovators the world over; their innovative writing and creativity sparks imagination.

In this talk, we will explore the connection between SciFi and Innovation.


For every new invention, there’s a spark - that creative energy that gets into the head of that right person and allows them a glimpse of “What’s Possible?” Through Science Fiction, with writing, movies and television, we are allowed a peek into a future that can seem more and more real.

As children, watching things like Bones, Star Trek, Iron Man, even Wonder Woman - there’s no boundary. By the time they are the adults they see on the screen, they’ll look around and wonder where those things were that they believed were real, and when they find they don’t yet exist, they’ll create them because they know how they should work.

It’s our job as innovators to encourage that spark and prepare them for the day when they’re the inventor.


This is a fun talk that I’ve given in various versions. The premise is to help people understand that what they surround themselves with informs what they produce.