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On NPR Tonight: Top 30 Innovations in Last 30 Years

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

28. Stents

27. ATMs

26. Barcodes and scanners

25. Biofuels

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

17. Microfinance

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

7.  Microprocessors

6.  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

5.  DNA testing and sequencing/Human genome mapping

4.  E-mail

3.  Mobile phones

2.  PC/laptop computers

1.  Internet/broadband/WWW (browser and HTML)


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