The Age of Personalization
Innovation is not something new; it has been with us through the ages, in fact, a deciding point in the pivot points for each age. And we are at the cusp of a new age, emerging from the age of information to an age of personalization. Over the next several months, we will feature blogs about innovation, and the emergence of a new age, which leverages technology – networks, databases, aggregated information, community – connected through online networks worldwide, and the needs of the customer – ever more selective and discerning to deliver personalized solutions in industries ranging from retail to financial services, clean energy to healthcare IT. Our first feature of the series provides an overview of innovation through the ages.
Innovation Through the Ages
When we look at innovation through the ages, we will see not just that individual innovations changed the lives of the people directly and indirectly associated with the innovation and community, but also that it impacted the culture, the thinking, and the way of life for the community, and the possibilities and possibilities for everyone.
Beginning with the Stone Age, when we first used tools, and the development of our brains, so as a more intelligent species, we have an edge over larger, faster, tougher competitors. Next comes the Age of Agriculture, when we learned how to plant, grow and store crops and domesticate animals. This age brought us from a nomadic, follow-the-herd, gather-along-the-way culture, to one that is more sedentary, one where we can delegate tasks, collaborate with tasks, and take more time and attention to non-essential needs.
Technological advancements of the Renaissance of the 15th and 16th Century included the advent of the printing press, which changed forever how we communicate, the origination of double shell domes and other architectural innovations which changed forever the type of structures we build, and the initial use of linear perspective in drawing, which, along with other innovations in art, changed our view of the arts and culture for all ages to come. In addition, the continual development of agricultural practices, which allowed fewer people to produce more food, and the appeal of the cities, and the breadth and appeal of other professions continued to draw people from the countryside into the cities.
And the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th Century brought additional changes in agriculture (production, harvesting and storage), manufacturing (mass production with great precision, interchangeable parts), transportation (steam-powered ships, trains, combustion engines), and technology (telephone, wires, electricity), amplified this trend, further facilitating the departure from rural communities to cities and towns. There was an unprecedented swelling of the population and additional transformation of the social, economic, political and cultural conditions.
Going into the 20th century, we look at the Atomic, Jet and Space Ages, and the science and technological innovations which made the creation and detonation of the atomic bomb possible, and the economic, political, social, ethical and other implications of the nuclear age. Scientific and technological advancements also ushered in the jet age, which facilitated the connection of people from around the globe, but stopped short of doing it at ‘jet speed’ for economic reasons, and the space age, which brought astronauts to the moon and safely back, and even now exploring the market demand and business opportunity if this can be done cost-effectively.
With the advent and rapid adoption of the personal computer in the late 1970s, the advancements in broadband, networking and cabling, the swelling techno-philic populations around the world, and the rise of the internet and its ability to inform and connect and facilitate economic and other transactions, we are brought into the Age of Innovation. Technology becomes a pervasive part of the daily lives of educated people from around the world, further diversifying economic opportunities for the masses, and changing the economic, political, social development for all communities, and people together from around the world.
With the continued rapid advancements in computer processing, in networking, in hardware, with the phenomenal rise of content and applications, and a growing global community demanding more information faster, with advancements in other technology-driven industries including clean energy, life science, and the demand from non-tech industries from retail to restaurants for more information to empower and serve a diverse client base, with current successes meeting the customized needs of a privileged few, and targeted solutions for niche audiences, we are evolving into an Age of Personalization, and this blog series will explore the drivers for this revolution, the solutions currently being offered, and the stories behind today’s successful leaders. Our next blog will be entitled ‘The Drivers for the Age of Personalization’, and a future blog will profile top ten categories for personalized solutions.