There have been several innovations in business during the past 50 years that have created a landscape that is completely alien to the working environments of those working only 50 years ago. The pace of change has been phenomenal and the amount of new technology and new processes has meant that we now work in a completely new way.
The following are the five biggest innovations in business from the past 50 years:
5. The Blackberry
Although Blackberry (RIM) has had major problems in the past few years with sales dropping and an almost insurmountable gulf being created from their competitors, the reality is that Blackberry changed the way that people worked. iPhones have given us a computer in our pocket, but in business terms the Blackberry was the first widely used device that allowed employees to receive emails wherever they are. It meant that suddenly a desktop computer was not necessary to be contacted on email, making it possible for many jobs to be conducted from almost anywhere.
Although telephones had allowed people to communicate in real time, the reality is that this was the first time that a practical way of communicating through writing that didn’t take a considerable amount of time to do. Fax’s were around before emails, but the difference is simply that emails have allowed people to communicate regardless of location, as long as they had a computer and an internet connection. Fax machines, although useful for those with a fax machine, were not a significant democratiser of technology because a fax machine was not something that would have been found in most houses.
In addition to this the opportunity to send and receive written documents, emails empowered companies to be able to contact multiple people with just the click of a mouse. This meant that mass communication was possible without excessive envelope stuffing and the major costs of printing and mailing letters. This allowed companies to contact customers in a way they never could before and revolutionised the ways that mass communication worked forever.
3. The Telephone
The widespread use of telephones meant that communication did not take days, but could be instantaneous. The fact that conversations could be undertaken straight away regardless of geography meant that companies could be co-ordinated across the world, making collaborative and expansive companies a possibility. Without telephones, companies could expand but risked losing links in locations that were further away.
From the ways that robotics can now be used in factories to the fact that documents can be created in minutes with corrections made throughout, are all down to computers. They have allowed people to increase productivity by hundreds of times as well as creating communication channels, research and even interactive elements that would not have been dreamed of only 30 years ago.
With computers it meant that information could be sent between one person and another in seconds, files could be saved and stored in a space smaller than one file rather than multiple filing cabinets and electronics could be controlled from anywhere in the world.
1. The Internet
Where would the world of business be today without the internet? The invention of the internet by Tim Berners-Lee did more than allow everything to be connected, it allowed companies to communicate with customers and get new business without every actually talking to anybody. It meant that companies could be searched for, put all of their information and prices on a website and paved the way for new communication techniques through social media.
The business improvements that have been found from the internet are almost immeasurable. It has created the biggest change in the way that companies do business in hundreds of years, opening up new money making avenues and allowing local companies to become truly global.