Innovation Roundup: The Top Innovations in 2016

top innovations2016 has been a year of crazy ups and downs. We’ve lost some amazing celebrities, had one of the most unique presidential campaigns in history, and experienced incredible innovations as well. The top innovations of 2016 have not only impacted this year, but will continue to impact business and technology for years to come.

By taking a look at the top innovations of 2016 in a variety of industries, you can see what others are developing and gain insight and inspiration for your innovations in the coming year.

Top Technology Innovation of 2016: Augmented Reality Gaming

If you saw people driving very, very slowly through parks and walking around staring at their phones even more than normal, you probably were looking at Pokémon Go players. The free-to-play location-based augmented reality game was released on July 6, 2016, and immediately became a runaway hit. It uses the GPS and camera on mobile devices to allow players to locate, capture, and battle virtual creatures that appeared on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the players.

Financially, Pokémon Go generated revenue by offering in-game purchases of items that helped players advance in the game, not unlike other mobile games. The game was so popular and made so much money that it earned five world records in its first month. As of the end of 2016, some believe the game was a fad that had passed, but the company is still making incredible profits from Pokémon Go.

The big takeaway from Pokémon Go is how augmented reality games can be used to boost small business revenue, gain profit for the creator, and create a national conversation – simultaneously.

Top Automotive Innovation of 2016: Driverless Cars

Do you ever wish you could commute in your own vehicle without having to pay attention, drive, and avoid problems on the road yourself? You’re not alone, and one of the top innovations of the year can help.

In response to this common desire, Google has developed a driverless car. They aim to make it easier and safer for people to travel, while also giving aging and disabled Americans access to transportation. The self-driving cars have been tested in a variety of cities, and are currently being tested in Mountain View, CA, Austin, TX, Kirkland, WA and Metro Phoenix, AZ.

Driverless car technology has expanded beyond Google as well, with Uber and Tesla are developing automated driving options, and a startup named Otto aiming at creating a self-driving system for trucks on highways.

Top Beauty Innovation of 2016: Supersonic Hair Dryers

In September of 2016, Dyson released its newest innovation – supersonic hair dryers. Available at retailers across the country, the hair dryer boasts a variety of innovative features that required over 100 new patents.

The top innovations are the very small, light digital motor located in the handle, and the intelligent heat control that makes it almost impossible to overheat your hair. Because heat damages hair, having a dryer that produces enough heat, but not too much is vital. The motor is much quieter than traditional hair dryers, which often cause users to be able to hear nothing else.

The Dyson product is currently $399, but it is more powerful than traditional hair dryers and leaves hair looking smoother, sleeker, and shinier. The styling nozzles snap in place with magnets, making them easy to use.

While most day-to-day consumers may be hard-pressed to spend $399 on a hair dryer, the product is definitely innovative in a market where design hasn’t changed for decades. The supersonic hair dryer is also likely to impact the direction of the industry overall.

Top Environmental Innovation of 2016: AirCarbon

The release of CO2 into the atmosphere has been an environmental concern for many years, but one of 2016’s top innovations is changing that. AirCarbon by Newlight Technologies is a material that captures CO2 that would otherwise end up in our atmosphere.

AirCarbon replaces oil in many commercial applications, allowing users to rely less on oil while also creating products that sequester more greenhouse gasses. AirCarbon can be used in a wide range of ways, including in products currently using fossil fuel-based polypropylene, polyethylene, ABS, polystyrene, and TPU. It can be used in extrusion, blown film, cast film, thermoforming, fiber spinning, and injection molding applications.

A variety of manufacturers have begun to use AirCarbon as part of their effort to create products in an environmentally friendly way, including Dell Computers. The ability to almost create plastic from air is an innovation that will dramatically impact manufacturing and our environment for decades.

Top Health Innovation of 2016: Harnessing the Microbiome

One of this year’s top innovations lives inside all of us. The microbiome is the gut bacteria that is abundant in all humans. Recent discoveries have uncovered that microbes have incredible power to treat and prevent disease. As a result, the harnessing of the microbiome topped the list of top innovations at the 2016 Medical Innovation Summit.

Your gut is a gold mine of various microbes, and it’s been discovered that these organisms act independently. They emit chemicals that affect how food is digested, how medicine is absorbed, and how diseases progress.

Biotech companies have begun to focus on the potential of the microbiome to develop new diagnostic processes, treatment therapies, and probiotic products to keep us healthy from the inside out. In the next year, microbes could prove to be healthcare’s most promising new frontier.

Top innovations occur at a variety of speeds and in all industries. No matter what industry you are in, there are advances available to you and innovative ideas you could develop. These innovations could not only help your organization bring in profit; you could shape your industry and help millions of people.

If you’re ready to set up an innovation plan for your organization, we’re here to help. Download the Annual Innovation Strategy whitepaper to get started.

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