Inventions showcase the best of human creativity, and can almost always be linked to what great ideas came before, as Raconteur found in a survey of over 400 scientists, tech journalists, academics, authors and interested readers
Necessity is the mother of invention. But no one has ever asked – “what would be the father?” We’d argue that it’s imagination. Somewhere at the intersection between needs and dreams, practicalities and possibilities, are the cradles of great ideas.
Our respondents voted for everything from penicillin to bicycles to ‘0’, choosing inventions as humble as the pencil and as earth-shaking as the concept of democracy. But each of them, as diverse as they are, has in some way contributed to bettering the quality of life of its users. And there is something particularly significant about that fact – that human endeavour, when it comes to inventions, seeks to improve upon the status quo. There is surely something very pure in that, and something that holds a mirror to the kernel of ingenuity that exists within all of us.
It’s that kernel of ingenuity we wanted to celebrate with this question – asking people what they believe is the greatest invention of all time is a way to celebrate entrepreneurship, genius, creativity – the best of the human mind. Whilst we were surprised and tickled by how outlandish some of the answers were (cheese and onion crisps, for instance), we were also thrilled with the sheer variety of responses.