Could you list the top 30 high-tech innovations of the last 30 years? Number one on this list is Internet broadband. Followed closely by personal computers, mobile phones, and email.
I got a press release in email; NPR releases its list tonight, February 16, on the Nightly Business Report. Set your DVR. Check your listing.
The list was compiled from readers’ suggestions and reviewed by the faculty at the Wharton Business School, based on seven criteria:
1. Did it have a direct and/or material effect on quality of life?
2. Did it address a compelling need? Did it solve a compelling problem?
3. Was it a fresh, new breakthrough? Was there a “WOW” factor?
4. Did it change the way business is conducted?
5. Did it increase the efficiency of how resources are used?
6. Did it spark an ongoing stream of new innovations on top of the original innovation?
7. Did it lead to the creation of a vast, new industry?
And the press release shares the actual list, in reverse order, from number 30 to number one:
30. Anti retroviral treatment for AIDS
29. SRAM flash memory
26. Barcodes and scanners
24. Genetically modified plants
23. Radio frequency identification (RFID) and applications (e.g. EZpass)
22. Digital photography/videography
21. Graphic user interface (GUI)
20. Social networking via Internet
19. Large scale wind turbines
18. Photovoltaic solar energy
16. Media file compression (e.g., jpeg, mpeg, mp3)
15. Online shopping/ecommerce/auctions (e.g., eBay)
14. GPS systems
13. Liquid crystal displays
12. Light emitting diodes (first real devices in 1960s; in products in mid-70s)
11. Open source software and services (e.g., Linux, Wikipedia)
10. Non-invasive laser/robotic surgery (laparoscopy)
9. Office software (Spreadsheets, word processors)
8. Fiber optics
6. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
5. DNA testing and sequencing/Human genome mapping
3. Mobile phones
2. PC/laptop computers
1. Internet/broadband/WWW (browser and HTML)