Greetings. As 2012 winds down, it’s fun to look back at a few of the year’s most interesting innovations…
While I tend to focus my work and writing on new ideas in the worlds of business and organizations, I would be remiss if I didn’t begin with the government-based innovation that has captivated America for the past several months–affectionately known as the “Fiscal Cliff.” It’s a political innovation so powerful that it threatens to throw the U.S. and global economies into a new recession. And, at the time of this blog post, the very people who had created the cliff and were waiting until the very last minute to come up with a less than satisfactory solution, were also hard at work trying to look thoughtful, caring, and busy.
On the technology front, 2012 was a year marked by the ever-growing promise of mobility and the increasing power of the internet. New and cooler mobile devices seemed to be announced almost every week–highlighted by the arrival of Apple’siPhone 5, a bunch of new, more powerful, and more interactive Android phones, the iPad Mini, and the Microsoft “Surface.” And the number of totally or at least partially, amazing apps for these devices seemed to expand at a faster rate than the universe itself. In fact, many people began envisioning lives based almost entirely on the use of smartphones and some futurists even suggested that we were getting close to the day when these devices would actually be implanted into our bodies. Until then, however, we might have to be content with serving as guinea pigs in the personal assistant battle between the totally frustrating and over-hyped Siri and the promising new Google Voice Search.
As for the web, it continued to grow as a place for commerce, managing business processes, and living our social and personal lives with companies like Amazon, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, and Instagram capturing even greater market share and attention. And a growing number of leading retailers and other brick-and-mortar businesses spent much of the year trying to figure out how to compete in a world turned upside down by the ease of clicking and the availability of nearly complete information.
On the automotive front, electric cars were all the rage even if very few people were buying them. The one exception was the long-awaited all-electric Tesla Model Ssupercar which made its debut to rave reviews. It proved to be a wonder of design and technology and as soon as I find an extra $100,000 under the mattress I will sign up to buy one.
Other innovations that caught our attention this year include Izhar Gafni’s $20 cardboard bicycle, the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, LiquiGlide, advances in 3D printing including the Formlabs’ Form 1 and the MakerBot Replicator 2, the Black & Decker Max Gyro motion-activated screwdriver, the Eliodomestico solar water distiller, Goodyear’s new self-inflating tires, and the NASA Curiosity Rover.