Human curiosity and the urge to explore has pushed our civilization forward, still acting as the driving force. Thanks to the ingenious minds and their audacity to think differently and carry out their ideas, we now live in a world where almost nothing seems impossible. Their innovative ideas have served as stepping stones for further progress of our civilization and inspired many more to join and engage in innovations.
This is our selection for the top 5 most brilliant innovators who devoted their lives to innovations and transformed our realities.
1. Galileo Galilei
"Passion is the genesis of genius."
Considered as one of the most important figures in the science of all time, Galileo Galilei is probably the central figure of the scientific revolution of the 17th century. Philosopher, astronomer, mathematician and a true innovator. Although credited for inventing the telescope and the microscope, he worked merely on their improvement. His curiosity led him to be the first one to turn his telescope to the sky and made observations that would forever change the way of understanding the Universe. His key discoveries opened many new fields yet to be explored. We can also thank him for determining the parabolic path of projectiles, designing the compass, and creating his own version of the early thermometer. His contribution to the scientific method is enormous and his work was later continued and further extended by Isaac Newton.
2. Leonardo da Vinci
"Learning never exhausts the mind."
One of the most iconic people of the Renaissance, the man who lived centuries ahead of his time, Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the greatest innovators to have ever lived. His curiosity led him to master many different areas of interest and attain skills in painting, drawing, sculpting, carpentry, metallurgy, mechanics, chemistry, architecture, astronomy and many more. He explored human anatomy, landscapes, botany, weapons, just about all aspects of life, finding inspiration in practically everything. His most well-known artworks, The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are just a part of his legacy. The brilliance of his genius mind can be seen in the drawings he left behind. Sketches of flying machines, scuba gear, parachutes, armored cars, a design of a more accurate clock, robotic gear, the ideal city - the list goes on and on serving as proof of his sheer innovation capability.
3. Nikola Tesla
"The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine."
Often misunderstood and labeled as a mad scientist, Nikola Tesla was a man who, just like Leonardo da Vinci, lived way ahead of his time. He dedicated his whole life to science bringing his groundbreaking ideas to life. Approximately 300 inventions and patents signed with his name show just the fraction of his creative/innovative capacity. Many of his brilliant designs were lost as he would often go straight to creating prototypes without any blueprints. His invention of the AC system, the Tesla coil and the discovery of a rotating magnetic field are some of the most influential works. He laid the foundation for wireless technology and as well as other future technologies we are all using today. Although a lifetime of innovations is endless, it still seems as if it was just a tiny fraction of the time needed for all of his ideas to come true. As in the case of da Vinci, we might need to wait a few more centuries before some of those ideas become a reality.
4. Walt Disney
"It’s kind of fun to do the impossible."
The creator of the all-time favorite Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney, has introduced so many innovations that often get overlooked. Besides revolutionizing film and animation, regular color television programming became the new norm, as well. He impacted education, marketing and urban planning and understood the opportunity for his business in merchandising. Although he did not create the world’s first shopping mall, Disneyland’s Main Street can be considered as somewhat of the first of its kind, with affiliate stores. His innovative ideas have touched the lives of so many of us, creating a wonderful and magical world. He transformed theme parks and created a place where whole families could enjoy, and introduced indoor rides which had never been seen before. A true innovator and futurist envisioned the city of tomorrow, EPCOT, and made it real. The impact he made on entertainment and the legacy he left behind can be considered as incomparable to anything else of the kind.
5. Steve Jobs
"The doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry are both the thinker and doer in one person."
You don’t have to be an Apple user to understand the impact it has made on our everyday lives. The extremely controversial and impressive person behind it, Steve Jobs, is one of the greatest innovators of our time. Thanks to his ideas and passion he shared with his team, we currently take personal computers and smartphones for granted. The mentioned innovations were not directly invented by him, yet his innovative ideas contributed a lot to the creation of much-desired devices. Apparently simple and elegant designs provide you with more functionality than anything before it. iPod and iTunes have transformed the way we listen to music and the music industry, as well. Apple has gone a long way since introducing the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and many other innovations, persistent in breaking boundaries of innovative technology and transforming our reality.
Many other great innovators are not part of the list, which does not diminish their overall civilization impact. We are grateful for their great ideas and passion in pursuing them. One big salute to all of the innovators from around the world that have ever lived!