I have been involved with a few technical innovations over the years.
CD audio quality 16 bit digital music production system being the biggest way back in the 1980s with the Fairlight Instruments CMI Series III.
And at Roland in Japan we were involved with their first polyphonic aftertouch keyboard controllers, A-50 and A-80. And was behind developments such as the R8 Human Drum machine, Virtual analog JP-8000, COSM, VariPhrase and even the V-Synth.
Back in Australia for the last 10 years have seen a very different emphasis.
In Australia, Tech21 is a conference for Technical Innovation. It doesn't have products and systems like the above. The CEOs of Freelancer.com and 99designs.com are heroes there. Lots of SmartPhone app website things too.
I think this is a shame.
A Smartphone app may be relatively inexpensive to develop and distribute, but their ability to change the status quo and peoples lives isn't very likely....the case being made that facebook would be the most used app on any smartphone, mostly for rather trivial things. I think this is a shame.
We know of a Nerve Stimulation system that can get paraplegics to walk that couldn't get any funding 4 months ago in the USA. I think this is a shame.
We have a company like Cochlear, that 30 years ago dramatically changed peoples lives with the bionic ear. They haven't done much in the last decades, and in fact they are in the news more for having a product recall (which is completely inexcusable), and the CEO wanting more pay and options.
We hope that things change a bit for the better in 2013.