Just thinking about all those great scientists and doctors from the past is so inspiring! Just in the last 100 years we’ve created the vaccine for polio, sent humans to the moon, the range of medications we have has vastly increased and then there’s IT – the Internet is, in my opinion the next industrial revolution and it’s happening in our lifetime! It’s a crazy time to be alive.
Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine and then gave it away for free! What a guy!
However, I really believe that innovation is pretty much dead and not enough of it is being carried out in the fields that really matter.
Right now everyone is going crazy making software and apps. There is a lot of innovation here, but very little of it is going to actually change the future in any meaningful way. Health IT software, healthcare apps – all of this stuff is at the fringes of where innovation really needs to happen.
I’ll tell you right now what innovation needs to happen in the world of medicine – rapid diagnostic tests. Super cheap, super accurate diagnostics will open up the world of medicine to the poorest of people worldwide, empower patients and allow us all to live a much longer more productive life.
How about the other biggest problem facing man kind – global warming and our reliance on fossil fuels. We all already know that much more work and innovation needs to happen in this field.
But it’s not happening! Why? Why is it that so many people then are focusing on making apps to deliver food to your door at a cheaper and cheaper price point, rather than working on things that will actually have a massive impact on mankind?
It’s because software is unregulated.
Want to create a new medication or diagnostic procedure? You’ll need half a billion pounds and a decade of time to go through all the hoops the government has put in place to validate your creation. In fact it’s so strict now that if you were to create the polio vaccine today, the research would likely have been terminated in its early stages due to the number of deaths it initially caused!
Want to get involved in the power industry and develop your own solar power company? Then you’ll face an onslaught from the entrenched power corporations and face an insurmountable amount of competition from them backed by the government.
Software is the only space where you can build pretty much anything and get away with it. It’s unregulated and any idea you have can be scaled and implemented worldwide. Governments are clearly weary of this – look at the backlash against Uber in so many countries. The Uber software is really unregulated compared to local taxi services who have to jump through so many hoops to simply operate. No doubt, soon software innovation will also be more regulated and when this happens innovation in this space will also be stifled.
Too many rules, regulations and bureaucracy kills innovation. As a result worldwide, innovation is stifled in the areas where we need it the most. Such a shame.