2021 has been one of the most challenging years on record. An economic recovery has led to labor shortages, supply chain shocks, and uncertainty for the year ahead. The COVID-19 pandemic is still unfolding across the globe among those unvaccinated. The top innovations of the year have, of necessity, responded to these unique circumstances to help us recover and move past the pandemic.
Top Technology Innovation of 2021: COVID-19 Tracking Apps
Technology companies have rapidly stepped to the fore to limit the pandemic. Tracking apps draw from location technologies to inform people who may have been exposed, so they can get tested. Over time, this has helped to track “breakthrough” infections among the vaccinated and stopped innumerable potential exposures before they happened.
While it hasn’t fully stopped the pandemic, it’s kept it from becoming worse. That keeps the light at the end of the tunnel moving just that little bit closer.
Top Automotive Innovation of 2021: The Ford F-150 Lightning
Electric vehicles have been growing in popularity over the last few years, yet the F-150 Lightning’s stratospheric takeoff marks a watershed. The F-150 is one of the most popular vehicles in the world, and it lays the groundwork for EVs to reach deeper into the overall market for both work and personal vehicles.
Considering the need to reduce emissions and the growing desire to limit energy consumption, that’s worth celebrating.
Top Beauty Innovation of 2021: TikTok
We’ve spent a lot of time over the last two years pondering what really matters. And even something as seemingly trivial as beauty has been brought forward into the conversation around equity.
Just like offices are becoming more creative across long distances, TikTok has both democratized beauty during the last two years and helped a growing cohort of people understand just what beauty means to them.
Top Environmental Innovation of 2021: Floating Wind And Solar
Wind and solar are rapidly growing as sources of power, and as they do, we’re starting to learn that old assumptions about power generation don’t apply. Floating wind and solar are a perfect example.
While the idea has been around for a while, 2021 was the year floating renewables got traction. Due to their low environmental impact, and their ability to be relatively speedily deployed in areas where it may be difficult to conduct the necessary surveys to anchor them, they’ve gotten more attention.
There have also been downstream creative uses, as well, with solar panels placed over the top of wastewater treatment vats, for example. It’s putting more power where it needs to be, flexibly and quickly.
Top Health Innovation of 2021: mRNA Vaccines
Could it be anything else? mRNA technology went from a promising approach for future vaccines to the key back to normalcy in 2021. First arriving on the market in 2021 with an emergency approval, the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have not just made everyday life possible, but have also changed how we develop, test, and certify vaccines for public consumption.
Well after COVID is behind us, we’ll be using mRNA technology to stall pandemics and build better public health approaches.
Curious to know what 2022 will bring? Let the ideas flow with Ideascale!