Top 6 Product Innovations of the 2000s

In many ways innovation has accelerated since we started the new century. Fueled in large part by the rise of the web, we’ve seen some big leaps made by companies in the 2000s. From Kindle and Netflix to Wii and Roomba to Facebook and YouTube to Kuerig and Prius to GoPro and Google Glass to LED bulbs and Nest thermostats, we’re living in a pretty futuristic world.

For a recent episode of our podcast, we decided to nail down the greatest product innovations of the 21st century. While there were a lot of great options to choose from (including many of the innovations listed above), we ultimately settled on the six game-changers listed below.


Listen to our podcast discussion of top innovations:


6 Most Important Product Innovations of the 21st Century

These are the innovative products/technology that have emerged since the new millennium began and really taken us into (or are currently taking us into) the future…

6. Flat Screen TVs

It’s hard to remember now, but there was a time not so long ago when TVs were big, heavy tubes. All that changed in the early 2000s with the emergence of Plasma, LCD, and then LED (and OLED) TVs. While this technology has been around for decades, it didn’t become affordable and go mainstream until just a decade ago. The result? Flat screens are now everywhere, bringing the world we previously saw in sci-fi films to life.

Flat Screen TVs

5. Solar Roadways

Yep, these exist. Communities will need to be able to afford to implement this technology, but when they do this innovation will change the world. We have covered so much of the earth with paved roads and parking lots. If we replace those with a substance that will provide us clean energy, melt snow, and light up obstructions, among other benefits, the results will be glorious.

Solar Roadways

4. GPS

GPS is another technology that has existed for decades, but the 2000s were when its commercial applications really started soaring. It has changed the lives of just about everyone. From getting simple directions to recalculating when you make a wrong turn, GPS is one of the greatest conveniences of our time. We almost take it for granted now, even though just a couple of decades ago we were relying on printed Mapquest directions, reading roadmaps, verbal directions from gas station attendants, or getting lost for hours on end.

GPS Technology

3. Self-Driving Cars

This is a technology just beginning to make its mighty impact felt. Google, Tesla and major car brands are testing out self-driving cars now—as is Uber, which has a fleet currently being tested on the roadways of Pittsburgh. That means in just a few years we could be riding, reading, sleeping, playing, talking, or what you have you, while the cars do all the work. There’s sure to be some bumps in the road, but this is a truly futuristic technology that will change the face of the world.

Self-Driving Cars

2. Camera Phones

Remember when you couldn’t instantly take and share a photo or video? It’s hard to fathom now that we’re bombarded daily with selfies on Facebook and smartphone videos on the nightly news, but as we passed the year 2000 this was not the world we lived in. It wasn’t until camera phones spread like wildfire in the early aughts that this form of instant visual communication became the norm (giving birth to sites like Instagram and YouTube in the process) and changing the way we view and live our lives.

Camera Phones

1. Cloud Computing

Of course, all the instant information sharing we enjoy today wouldn’t be what it is without the power of the cloud. While the cloud essentially functions behind the scenes, it’s fingerprints are everywhere. From the biggest international corporations to the individual level, the ability of the cloud to access, analyze, store and share information has touched us all. This big, overarching innovation has really changed the way we move information and connect with one another. And as time progresses its influence will only grow, changing the way we use computers and devices—and how they interact with our daily lives.

Cloud Computing