Top 10 Interesting Ideas of 2014

2014 was full of good new ideas. Here is a top 10 list of some of the ones I found the most interesting:
  1. Crowdfunding – not a new idea this year, granted, but it felt like this was the year when it really took off. There were some great campaigns on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Especially for hardware, where we’re really seeing a revolution in terms of innovative products coming to market.
  2. Shared Economy – same thing here, it’s not a new thing this year, but again, the year it really took off. At least if we define take off by the moment when regulators discovered it and tried their best to shut it down. Especially Uber and Airbnb, given their size, were the targets of regulators everywhere from Germany to New York.
  3. “Take X and add AI” – Kevin Kelly commenting on the business plans of the “next 10,000 startups” in Wired.
  4. The Blackphone, The Onion Router, and other similar privacy tools have seen a huge increase in interest in the post-Snowden era.
  5. 10x improvement instead of 10% improvement – the Silicon Valley mantra. Reinvent from the bottom up rather than tinkering with incremental improvements.
  6. Bitcoin – perhaps Bitcoin itself will not be the revolution many thought, but this was the year that the idea of a digital currency as the default payment method of the web started making sense.
  7. Data Journalism – this was the year that data journalism became “a thing”. Everybody wanted to start their own data journalism venture this year. In addition to Vox and 538, there were data deep dives and infographics everywhere.
  8. Cyborgification – the idea that humans are already part human, part machine, given the enormous capabilities we have with smartphones in our pockets. We also saw cyborg/augmented chess teams, consisting of computers and humans teaming up, and beating stand-alone humans and computers.
  9. 3D-printed food – explored by NASA and the military. Soon a consumer reality?
  10. Geoengineering – the climate change debate took a turn and started looking at whether we should give up on the 2 degree target and focus on geoengineering and similar methods to reverse climate change instead.

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