Had you lived 12,000 years ago you would have lived as a hunter gatherer with a life expectancy of perhaps less then 30 years. So where would you be today if we were still hunter gathers? Would you still be out on the savanna spending the majority of your time hunting for food to stay alive?
Contrast this with the way you started your day. If you live in a developed country you most likely woke up in a warm bed, rolled over checked your email on your iPad and then showered. You had plenty of choices for breakfast and no problem finding a suitable set of clothes to wear to match the weather of the day. Its possible that your life expectancy may be three times that of the hunter gatherer.
This increased quality of life can be attributed to innovation! How is this possible? Don’t get carried away with the idea that the iPhone is increasing our life span, but think of another example. Consider for example the number of people in the developed world who suffer from high blood pressure. In many cases this can be treated with a low priced medicine most likely avoiding what would be an early demise from an exhausted heart.
But this single idea is like the tip of the iceberg when it comes to innovation. Just like the body of an iceberg we don’t see most of the innovation that effects our lives. Think about this for a moment:
There is nothing in your life that you do or touch that does not involve innovation!
This is the body of the iceberg! Think of it – our whole life involves the use and benefits of inventions. We use inventions when we sleep, when we eat, for pleasure, for travel, for work – the list is endless!
Yet most inventions are invisible to us. Just like the oxygen we breath that keeps us alive inventions are the very lifeblood of our existence and yet we don’t notice them. Granted there is a certain notoriety when something new appears but its novelty quickly fades into the background like year old wallpaper. As we grow from infancy we see things around us that we perhaps take for granted, assuming that these items have always been there. Imagine world travel before planes, or sleep before sprung mattresses, or a world without books.
Innovation can serve us in many ways. In the grand scheme of things we can attack the problems of starvation, disease and poverty but, regretfully perhaps, our mission on this website is less grand. We are concerned with the notion that innovation in business helps grow the value of the business. This is based on the idea that innovation can provide increased value to customers. These customers then return value to the company through the price they pay for the product or perhaps by becoming loyal customers. This in turn results in increased value for the business owners. In the case of start-up companies, a focus of this website, this represents rewards for the founders who took the risk to start the company. Later in the life of this business a public company might return value to stockholders. Some of these stockholders might be pension funds and thus people’s retirement funds are boosted through good stock process or healthy dividends. Some stockholders might benefit from high valued companies enabling them to purchase a new home or make some other significant purchase, thus helping to stimulate the growth of the economy.
Its certainly true that a companies success is not predicated on innovation alone, many other factors are involved, but it can be clearly seen that innovation can be a cornerstone of a companies success and a benefit to everyone involved.
In fact its a little unclear what the life expectancy of hunter gathers was or is. This paper indicates a life expectancy of around 30 years for some existing hunter gather tribes.
In developing and poor countries people might suffer from the same maladies as people in developed countries but they don’t necessarily have the same access to or the ability to purchase effective treatments.
Not the new inventions that are in development today but things that have a material effect on our day to day lives.
We might exclude basic bodily functions such as breathing but many of these functions involve the use of an invention.
Real estate prices in some parts of the bay area increase a company have successful IPO’s.