The Top 30 Innovations of the Last 30 Years

Is it possible to determine which 30 innovations have changed life most dramatically during the past 30 years? What would you suggest - computers? solar energy? eBay?? This is the question that Nightly Business Report, the Emmy Award-winning PBS business program, and Knowledge@Wharton, the online journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, set out to answer.  After receiving some 1,200 suggestions -- including eBay, the mute button, and suitcase wheels -- a panel of eight judges from Wharton reviewed and selected the top 30 of these innovations.

innovation slide show

Here's the final list, in order of importance:
  1. Internet, broadband, WWW (browser and html)
  2. PC/laptop computers
  3. Mobile phones
  4. E-mail
  5. DNA testing and sequencing/Human genome mapping
  6. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  7. Microprocessors
  8. Fiber optics
  9. Office software (spreadsheets, word processors)
  10. Non-invasive laser/robotic surgery (laparoscopy)
  11. Open source software and services (e.g., Linux, Wikipedia)
  12. Light emitting diodes
  13. Liquid crystal display (LCD)
  14. GPS systems
  15. Online shopping/ecommerce/auctions (e.g., eBay)
  16. Media file compression (jpeg, mpeg, mp3)
  17. Microfinance
  18. Photovoltaic Solar Energy
  19. Large scale wind turbines
  20. Social networking via the Internet
  21. Graphic user interface (GUI)
  22. Digital photography/videography
  23. RFID and applications (e.g., EZ Pass)
  24. Genetically modified plants
  25. Bio fuels
  26. Bar codes and scanners
  27. ATMs
  28. Stents
  29. SRAM flash memory
  30. Anti retroviral treatment for AIDS
For more information on these innovations and how they were chosen for this list, visit the Top 30 Innovations website on NBR.  Get inspired to innovate by checking out Dibner Library's titles on innovation.