A common buzz word for companies flouting their “next big thing”, it’s easy to forget the significance behind the word.
I love books, so I always come back to the Gutenberg Printing Press, developed in the fifteenth century. Its invention ushered in a time when knowledge was more readily disseminated throughout the masses and literacy rates increased throughout Europe.
Modes of transportation – both personal and for cargo. Horse-and-buggy gave way to the automobile. Wind, steam, fuel-combustion, nuclear, and electric forms of the ships, trains, and other vehicles.
Those are just two examples that created both connections among disparate communities as well as opportunities for trade and knowledge-exchange. The internet certainly falls into that category as well.
However, what we’re seeing now is predominantly incremental returns on innovative investment. As the Industrial Age wanes and the Information Age still grows from its nascent stages, the advances aren’t taking us leaps forward, but rather a step here and a step there.
All that is to say, be wary of the use of innovation as buzz word. I do believe that we’ll see significant innovation sooner rather than later. I would predict extensions in the average lifespan by another four-five decades; Virtual and Augmented Reality becoming a hub for commerce, entertainment, and socializing; and renewable, safe energies powering everything from city grids down to the smallest microchip.