According to a CNET article, IBM’s executive VP for Innovation and Technology Nick Donofrio said last week that “An era of inventions ended with the passing of the 20th century. The fact is that innovation was a little different in the 20th century. It’s not easy (now) to come up with greater and different things. If you’re looking for the next big thing, stop looking. There’s no such thing as the next big thing”
Microsoft’s Don Dodge over at Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing does not believe so – saying that “The Next Big Thing does exist…it just doesn’t look BIG to IBM,” and listing a whole bunch of companies he is working with that could be the next big thing.
Charlie Bess over at EDS’ Next Big Thing Blog also chimes in, saying “Each organization will have their own next big thing. There will be some massive industry wide changes, but those are much more rare than the shift within a single organization — at least for most organizations.”
History (especially tech history) is littered with predictions along the lines of “this is the end of …(fill in the blank)” – and they have often been an indication that the author of the quote or the company they were affiliated with had reached an innovation impasse.
You really believe that there is no Next Big Thing? There will be Next Big Things for as long as humans do not screw up this planet. Saying that there is no Next Big Thing is like saying that we are the end result of evolution – millions of years were spent to this as an end result. That, of course, would have some serious implications.
But back to a more mundane level – of course there will be ongoing breakthrough innovations and a lot of Next Big Things. There are fuel innovations in the works that could lead to many next big things, there are management innovations that could lead to new type of organizations and governments that could eclipse existing organizations, there are innovations in the world of physics, and at the confluence of multiple disciplines, that could lead to many next big things. It is just all around us!