Friday, February 20, 2009

Top 30 Innovations of the Last 30 Years?

In commemoration of its 30th anniversary, PBS’s Nightly Business Report partnered with Knowledge@Wharton to create a list of the "Top 30 innovations" that have impacted our world and lives.The list is thought provoking for what’s included (heavy on developments in computing/communications/healthcare),what’s not included (economic and political changes)

The list is as follows, in order of importance:

  1. Internet, broadband, WWW (browser and html)

  2. PC/laptop computers

  3. Mobile phones

  4. E-mail

  5. DNA testing and sequencing/Human genome mapping

  6. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  7. Microprocessors

  8. Fiber optics

  9. Office software (spreadsheets, word processors)

  10. Non-invasive laser/robotic surgery (laparoscopy)

  11. Open source software and services (e.g., Linux, Wikipedia)

  12. Light emitting diodes

  13. Liquid crystal display (LCD)

  14. GPS systems

  15. Online shopping/ecommerce/auctions (e.g., eBay)

  16. Media file compression (jpeg, mpeg, mp3)

  17. Microfinance

  18. Photovoltaic Solar Energy

  19. Large scale wind turbines

  20. Social networking via the Internet

  21. Graphic user interface (GUI)

  22. Digital photography/videography

  23. RFID and applications (e.g., EZ Pass)

  24. Genetically modified plants

  25. Bio fuels

  26. Bar codes and scanners

  27. ATMs

  28. Stents

  29. SRAM flash memory

  30. Anti retroviral treatment for AIDS

Read the entire write up at

Since we all differ in our individual interpretations of the concept of "innovation"--it's interesting to see what this project's 8 learned judges picked. Reading over the list reminded me of a one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons (above)

Beyond this summation of “innovations” two ambitious projects (not volunteering for them) would be to chronicle:

a) Top 30 developments (pro and con) in the world in the past 30 yrs (e.g. fall of communism, rise of warming, the interconnected world marketplace)

b) What were the top 30 innovations of the 30 yrs prior to 1979? How many are obsolete?

c) What will the next 30 yrs bring?


1 comment:

  1. The Betamax didn't make the list??? ;-)

    - Mike


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