The End of Innovation?

by on March 16, 2006 · 6 comments

From IBM, the company that (allegedly) once told us there’s a world market for five computers, we now learn that the era of the “next big thing” is over:

“The fact is that innovation was a little different in the 20th century. It’s not easy (now) to come up with greater and different things,” Donofrio said.

“If you’re looking for the next big thing, stop looking. There’s no such thing as the next big thing,” he added.

That is not to say that the 21st century does not also require invention, creation and discovery, he said. But these days, people are looking for value that arises from a creation and not just looking at technology for its sake, he explained.

I don’t understand what the point of making statements like that. By definition, innovation consists of developing or discovering things that people previously didn’t know about. So the fact that Mr. Donofrio can’t think of any inventions simply means that the present era is exactly like all previous eras.

Here’s my prediction: we’re going to see several revolutionary technologies invented in the next 50 years. We don’t know what they are today, but they’ll seem obvious in hindsight.

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