Leonardo da Vinci, the Great Disruptor

davinci-great-disruptorLeonardo da Vinci. Painter, sculptor, scientist, inventor, botanist, writer, mathematician, astronomer…and disruptor. Does it strike us as odd that one of the most brilliant minds in history can also be considered one of the great disruptors? Leonardo da Vinci’s intellectual genius prompted him to think about the world not within the parameters of just one discipline, but across many of them. He considered himself an engineer as well as an artist, and many of his works display exceptional talent within these fields. This is precisely the idea behind the fourth industrial revolution: the digital transformation.

Leonardo’s map of the town of Imola, Italy, commissioned by the Italian warrior Cesare Borgia, is the world’s oldest surviving ichnographic map. The genius behind Leonardo’s map is that it was drawn from a bird’s eye view, just as today’s GPS shows us a city’s entire layout. Yet no technology existed in the sixteenth century that would allow someone to grasp a city’s details and spatial relationships. How did Leonardo do it?

He did it by inventing tools to help him accomplish the purpose he set out to do. Already an avid cartographer and student of avian flight, Leonardo had created odometers and a magnetic compass, and understood bird’s-eye perspectives of land. In detailing the map, called the “Town Plan of Imola”, he relied on his mathematical as well as his artistic skills. The maps’ beautiful details and technological precision continue to astound cartographers today.

For this reason, and many others, Leonardo was truly a great disruptor. He understood how to tie art to technology and science, and in turn, revolutionized the way these disciplines have been thought of ever since. As we enter the digital transformation, let yourself be inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, the epitome of a disruptor and of a Renaissance man.

Read more about Leonardo da Vinci’s map and Dell Technologies’ discussion on the disruption of the mapping and transportation industry here.