Twenty years ago, John Teresko – the godfather of manufacturing technology here at IndustryWeek – began documenting the best technologies and most disruptive innovations hitting the market each year.
Over the years, he followed the rise of the personal computers, of the dotcom bubble and bust, of digitization and machine tools, of software and hardware, of the slow evolution of industrial internets and interconnectivity.
Before the series was paused in 2006, he and his IW team accumulated a vast archive of cutting edge technologies that have since grown and matured to define today's advanced manufacturing world.
Looking back at this coverage provides a fascinating perspective on where we came from and – maybe – where we're going.
The Industrial Research Institute – birthplace of open innovation – is working on a similar project now.
The celebrate the organization's 75th anniversary, IRI has launched a kind of technology tournament to collect and rate the most significant innovations to hit the world since 1938.
And it is calling on you for help.
According to its most recent release on the project:
"The IRI Technology Tournament is a bracket-style competition that invites IRI member companies, such as Procter & Gamble, Chevron, Lockheed Martin and Colgate-Palmolive, to submit their products, services and business innovations for consideration in determining the most meaningful technological advancement from the past three-quarters of a century. Entries will be accepted in the following categories: product and service innovations; business innovations; innovations that created a new industry; and innovations that enhanced a societal good."
Entries so far include Roche's development of Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR) and Procter & Gamble's safe drinking water project – two very cool and very disruptive projects.
Has your company changed our lives with technology or innovation? Then jump in the contest and let the world know.
IRI members can register their ideas and submissions at TechTournament.org.
Non-members can vote for the leading technologies here.
And while we're at it, drop me a note in the comments about what you think are the technologies that matter most in the world today. What are we doing today that will matter the most tomorrow? What tools do you have in your plants today that have changed your life the most?
What are the technologies that really matter?
Let me know what you think.