Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

From the jet engine to Kitty litter: the 85 most disruptive innovations

Ways to Subscribe
It was a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 such as this, authorities say, on which a California teen stowed away in the wheel well. He reportedly survived the 5 1/2-hour flight from San Jose to Maui.
/PR News/Hawaiian Airlines
A Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767. Businessweek chose the jet engine as the most "disruptive" innovation in the past 85 years.

The jet engine, name-brand jeans, the Internet. Those are some of the most important inventions of the past 85 years, at least according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

In 1958, Pan Am launched daily Boeing 707 service across the Atlantic. And that's considered the single most important invention of the past 85 years, at least according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The publication turns 85 years old this month and to celebrate, they've released a list of the 85 most disruptive ideas in history.

"The fact that we are more interconnected globally than ever before is really the big story of the last 85 years," said Romesh Ratnesar, deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek. "The innovation that facilitated that more than anything else is the invention of the jet engine."

In addition to tech innovations you may expect – the Internet, email, the modem – the list also includes some surprising choices: name-brand jeans, Kitty litter, Jane Fonda's workout series.

It all hinges on the concept of how much an idea was disruptive to the status quo, said Ratnesar. At least, that was the goal of the list, which took about a year to compile.

"To find ideas that we felt were not just important, but in some fundamental way were transformative," said Ratnesar. "They changed the way business is done around the world, they changed our lives."

You can check out the full list of all 85 ideas, including in-depth articles from Bloomberg Businessweek, here.

Stay Connected