20 years of innovation!

A new infographic tracking two decades of transformational companies and products.

By Brad Berens

Infographic by Brad Berens and William Berens

I had a ball leading StoryTech tours of the show floor at CES in Las Vegas last week. This year’s distinct theme was AI.

My favorite exhibit was Timekettle from China: it’s one of those “wait, wasn’t this science fiction just a few years ago?” companies. In this case, think of the Babelfish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or the Universal Translator from Star Trek… only in real life! Timekettle makes gadgets (including ordinary looking ear buds) that feature real-time translation from one language to another.

The first time I saw it, I stopped moving. “This changes everything!” I thought. Imagine collaboration with colleagues who don’t share a common tongue, or travel in a country where you don’t speak the language. The implications are staggering. Timekettle represents true transformation.

As it happens, over the winter holidays my son, William Berens, joined me in updating the signature infographic on the front door of the Big Digital Idea Consulting website. I created the first version, “15 Years of Innovation,” for a D.A. Davidson conference where I presented at back in 2019, then put it on the Big Digital Idea site. That list ended with 2017, and several transformative companies have come into being since then.

It was time to revisit the list.

William and I updated and extended the infographic to span 20 years of transformative companies and products. Note that we’re talking about B2C products for ordinary people (citizens, users, customers) rather than enterprise or backend products.

It’s a subjective list, so if you think we missed something please nominate a transformative company by using this Google Form (you’ll need a Google-connected account to do so).

Take a look, and let me know what you think!


Brad Berens is the Center’s strategic advisor and a senior research fellow. He is principal at Big Digital Idea Consulting. You can learn more about Brad at www.bradberens.com, follow him on Post and/or LinkedIn, and subscribe to his weekly newsletter (only some of his columns are syndicated here).



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January 17, 2024