We’ve gathered hundreds of interesting, ground-breaking innovations. Why not use Wikipedia? We started there but found “deletionists” — Wikipedia editors who pump up their edit figures by deleting things willy-nilly — made it impossible. That exercise showed that lots of the information on Wikipedia is wrong, often by omission or adding worthless information.
Besides describing innovations, we also write about our preferred innovation method, blue ocean strategy. A few of us are blue ocean strategy consultants and academics; if you’re into blue ocean strategy, let us know (and also subscribe to our blue ocean newsletter at substack.blueoceanthinking.com. Also, check out the Blue Ocean Strategy Articles tab at top.
Our latest compilation is about 400 innovations which we think are the most impactful. We wrote about them, one-by-one, in accurate, short, and easy-to-digest case studies. Finally, we decided to write about what we learned from them to help today’s innovators and those interested in innovation.
Some interesting factoids…
Louis Tappan was a zealous Christian abolitionist who reviled lending and slavery. While creating a network of tattle-tales to report illegal betting houses and brothels he ended up inventing the credit reporting industry.
On New Year’s Eve, 1899, there were more electric cars in the world than gas-powered cars.
Text messaging, plasma panels, touch screens, online forums, and massive multiplayer online games come from a computer system virtually nobody’s heard of, PLATO.
Literally or figuratively addicting customers to a product or locking them into a service platform works great, and customers oddly often don’t mind.
There are lists of famous inventions, lists of famous inventors, and comprehensive lists of all sorts of business and engineering related stuff. They’re a hodgepodge of minor improvements lumped together with earth-shattering innovations. Traditional wiki’s, including and especially Wikipedia, jumble everything together. Descriptions are oftentimes boorishly long and oftentimes inaccurate.
Searching high and low, into dusty old books and the minds of countless professors, we concluded there wasn’t a carefully hand-culled well-thought-out list of major innovations, with lesser innovations or incremental work removed.
So we set out to make one. And, from that, we found dozens of insights and patterns that span hundreds of innovations.
Studying patterns of innovations over time is the key to growth. Sustainable growth by meaningful innovation, not changing the color of the plastic, the packaging, or a cheap marketing scheme.