Examples Of Innovation

By Martin Gilliard

Welcome to the examples of innovation section of the site. On this page I will list some of the more famous/important innovations over the years.

You can determine some of the most important innovations by considering whether the innovation had a positive effect on the quality of life, solved a big issue or problem, created an entirely new market, increased efficiency or simply was a breakthrough idea that had that “Wow” factor.

Examples Include:

  1. Glass (3500 BC)
  2. Abacus (2700 BC)
  3. Windmills (200 BC)
  4. Paper (105 AD – Europe 10th century – Germany 1400) 
  5. Printing Press (1450) 
  6. Steam Powered Vehicle (1672)
  7. Mechanical Vehicle (1769)
  8. Camera Photography (1820)
  9. Telegraph (1837) 
  10. Modern Public Library (1850-1945 depending on country)
  11. Vacuum Cleaner (1860)
  12. Telephone (1876)
  13. Modern Automobile (1878)
  14. Solar Cell (1883)
  15. Wind Turbine (1888)
  16. Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or Drone (1916)
  17. Commercial Radio (1920)
  18. Electronic Television (1926)
  19. Disposable baby diapers (1930’s)
  20. Commercial Television (1936 UK, 1948 US)
  21. Computer printer (1938) 
  22. Microwave oven (the 1940’s)
  23. Transistor (1947)
  24. Video Games (1947)
  25. Video Tape Recorder (1951)
  26. Laser (1957)
  27. Electronic calculator (1961)
  28. Spreadsheet software (1962)
  29. Light Emitting Diode (1962)
  30. Personal and laptop computers (1965)
  31. Microprocessor chips (1968)
  32. Word processing software (Late 1960’s)
  33. Mobile phones (1973)
  34. Global Positioning Systems (1973)
  35. Digital cameras (1975)
  36. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (1977)
  37. E-Commerce (1979)
  38. Calculator Watch (1980)
  39. 3D Printing (1984)
  40. DNA Profiling (1986)
  41. World Wide Web / Internet (1989) 
  42. Email (1993)
  43. Social networking (1994)
  44. Nintendo’s D-Pad and Analog N64 games controller (1996)
  45. Google search (1997)
  46. WiFi (1999 but the technology originates from approx 1985)
  47. Wikipedia (2001) 
  48. iPod and iTunes (2001)
  49. Facebook (2004)
  50. YouTube (2005)
  51. Twitter (2006)
  52. Kindle (2007)
  53. Uber taxi (2009)
  54. iPad (2010)
  55. Crowd-funding (2010)
  56. Google self-driving car (2012)
  57. Multi-use space rockets (2015)
  58. Drone delivery (2016)

This is of course not a definitive list and new breakthrough innovations will continue to emerge.