What’s the Greatest Innovation of all time?
Only the hardest Luddite would fail to acknowledge that ‘Innovation’ is a key term for almost anybody involved in a creative industry; the seminal, life-changing idea is surely an ultimate goal. But what does innovation really mean? What example would you cite to define the spirit of the word? This is the subject of a survey launched by online magazine spiked, in collaboration with Pfizer, and several architectural and design luminaries including Sunand Prasad, Jack Pringle and Austin Williams feature among the thinkers, writers and scientists who have participated in answering “What’s the Greatest Innovation?” More than a hundred experts and authorities have responded already, including half-a-dozen Nobel laureates.
The responses range from the cutting edge of technology, to the most mundane object – from highly sophisticated software to the humble brick. Dr. Chris Goodier, from the Department of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University, suggests concrete as the greatest innovation in the history of building and construction, ‘which is now the second most used resource in the world (after water)’, whereas architect Bernhard Blauel believes the greatest innovation in the field was ‘man’s ability to reach places where gravity is reduced to imperceptible levels’ because this enables the realisation of architectural dreams.
While the question remains pretty impossible to answer, it is certainly humbling to consider the hundreds of pioneering triumphs of human ingenuity. The survey will roll through May and June, and the discussion will go live at an event in central London on Wednesday 6 June – book tickets here, but until then, why not join the debate here.