You know if something is a true innovative success if if is ubiquitous and forgotten about, even if Edison and Jobs didn’t invent the light-bulb and Smartphone, They worked out how to mass produce it and market them.
For true innovation the businessman or inventor needs to look at what is around now, what people will want tomorrow and what they wanted yesterday. Think how early Windows releases like 3.0 and early MacOS changed the game, sure computers were around before then but were majority Terminal based, not very user friendly for the uninitiated.
And MS/Apple looked at these Terminal based systems and went “Computers are getting more common, why not make it more simple?” and basing their UI on how somebody would order a desk with folders containing files, their calculator on the desk [applications]
The best innovation is based on good marketing, making things easier and often cheaper/easier to mass produce.
“Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black” – Henry Ford
Ford is another example of great marketing innovation, sure cars were around before the model T, but he was the first person to effectively mass produce them and in turn his company was and still is a massive success.
Generally at its core, Innovation is about being smart, whilst things like VR goggles are definately innovative, they will still be a niche product for the current foreseeable future, however things like augmented reality are something that will likely take off a whole lot more [once we get better battery tech] running overlays on sunglasses where you can wear them and see information thats synced with social media, targeted advertising.
Imagine how cool i’d be to have a Pokemon game attached to your glasses and phone, be walking along and all of a sudden the game generates a random encounter in front of you because you walked into some grass. and you control the actions of the battle via your phone and see the output on your glasses.
In conclusion, Innovation is about Giving people something they didn’t know they really wanted, nobody knew that when the iPhone came out that within a matter of years phones without buttons on the face would be the norm, but look where we are now.
Now for a product/concept that i am most excited to see in the future, it has to be 3d printing. most people i’ve seen so far are saying stuff like VR tech and whatnot and sure, that stuff is cool. but 3D printing has the possibility to change nearly everything. and its well on its way to nearly every field of business and life.
People have always wanted more convenient and easy ways to do things. right now if you want to prototype a product you have to go through a bunch of painstaking steps to get it to the point of a physical object.
Now all you have to do is open up a CAD program. mess around with some models. stick it into your 3d printer and in a couple of hours bam. there’s your prototype.
Think back to when the microwave came out, before that if somebody wanted to reheat a portion of food they’d have to heat up a pan or the oven, place it in said pan/oven and recook it. Now you just toss it in a container and bathe it in microwave radiation until the water molecule go all crazy and cook it.
This tech could also be applied to some examples coming up.
For example, the Chinese recently 3d printed an entire house.
With the parts of the house printed separately and then built together. we already do this with building so why not make it so the spaces for the wires are pre laid, the building is designed for best possible acoustics etc. the possibilities in building alone are nearly endless.
How about 3d printing organs?
Soon, if your liver fails instead of going on a long and arduous waiting list that you’ll possibly die on. just contact a company that will take a culture of your current liver cells. grow them in a lab and then just print a working organ, as far as your body cares its your tissue so there’s no issues with rejection, sure its in its early stages right now but give the industry behind it enough money and time and soon organ transplants will be a thing of the past.
Hell, once we crack being able to reattach a spinal cord and prevent age related brain degradation the rich will be biologically immortal. just funding the printing of a brand new body whenever they want it.
And then, what about food?
With NASA’s planned trip to mars in 2022 and considering how long it will take to send resupply vehicles, giving the people on mars the ability to 3d print food from powder to paste based things is highly attractive. and due to the fact that anything that is heavily used in space travel ends up the marketplace it could be coming to the household sooner than later. [think Teflon, Carbon Fiber, Velcro]
3d printing isn’t without its flaws right now, It will always be a slow process and when it comes to producing products its best used as a prototyping tool.
But i feel that given enough time, it will be one of the biggest breakthroughs in manufacturing this century.