Saturday, 4 June 2011

Innovation Areas

It is obvious that some technologies lend themselves to, and lead to, innovation. Electronics, for example, has seen massive changes over the last couple of decades ... there are so many products available now that were not even conceived 20 years ago.

Yet, in many other areas the pace of change is astonishingly slow.

About 50 years ago, the internal combustion engine (ICE) and auto design led to fuel efficiencies of about 40 miles per gallon. Since then we have made improvements ... but incremental and evolutionary ... most cars are still in that 40 mpg ballpark.

Is this lack of innovation and change due to the existing technology being so good ... or a lack of enthusiasm by the manufacturers/designers ... or the fact that fuel has been relatively cheap and thus there has been little pressure from consumers for greater efficiencies.

Probably all of these have had an effect.

It will be interesting to see how the changing pressures and priorities (which themselves change the political and economic dynamics) will affect the rate of development of better ICEs ... or better alternatives with the current development of electric and hybrid vehicles.

I don't want to get drawn into the debate about 'better' (well not in this post at least)... here I am only interested in the development of more mpg (or some equivalent measure).

Let the innovation begin.

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