No announcement yet.

Long Waves: The History of Innovation Cycles


  • Long Waves: The History of Innovation Cycles

    Long Waves: How Innovation Cycles Influence Growth

    Creative destruction plays a key role in entrepreneurship and economic development.

    Coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, the theory of “creative destruction” suggests that business cycles operate under long waves of innovation. Specifically, as markets are disrupted, key clusters of industries have outsized effects on the economy.

    Take the railway industry, for example. At the turn of the 19th century, railways completely reshaped urban demographics and trade. Similarly, the internet disrupted entire industries—from media to retail.

    The above infographic shows how innovation cycles have impacted economies since 1785, and what’s next for the future.

    Innovation Cycles: The Six Waves

    From the first wave of textiles and water power in the industrial revolution, to the internet in the 1990s, here are the six waves of innovation and their key breakthroughs.
    Water Power
    Internal-Combustion Engine
    Digital Network
    New Media
    Digitization (AI, IoT, AV,
    Robots & Drones)
    Clean Tech
    60 years 55 years 50 years 40 years 30 years 25 years

    Source: Edelsen Institute, Detlef Reis

    During the first wave of the Industrial Revolution, water power was instrumental in manufacturing paper, textiles, and iron goods. Unlike the mills of the past, full-sized dams fed turbines through complex belt systems. Advances in textiles brought the first factory, and cities expanded around them.

    With the second wave, between about 1845 and 1900, came significant rail, steam, and steel advancements. The rail industry alone affected countless industries, from iron and oil to steel and copper. In turn, great railway monopolies were formed.

    The emergence of electricity powering light and telephone communication through the third wave dominated the first half of the 1900s. Henry Ford introduced the Model T, and the assembly line transformed the auto industry. Automobiles became closely linked with the expansion of the American metropolis. Later, in the fourth wave, aviation revolutionized travel.

    After the internet emerged by the early 1990s, barriers to information were upended. New media changed political discourse, news cycles, and communication in the fifth wave. The internet ushered in a new frontier of globalization, a borderless landscape of digital information flows.

    Read More:
      Posting comments is disabled.

    Article Tags


    Latest Articles


    • We have NO AIRSPEED! How even a checklist is not enough…
      by Pete Diffley
      How do the flight crew, ground crew and operations personnel of a commercial airliner miss crucial steps to verify that the aircraft has working airspeed indicators before takeoff? There are so many lessons to be learned here that will help any industry. Have you heard of Dr. Reason’s Swiss Cheese Model?

      This was part of the discussion we had on our Industry Panel today for May. Enjoy!...
      May 19, 2022, 04:48 PM
    • 8 proactive steps to improve data quality
      by [email protected]
      Chris Foot from RadixBay gives eight steps to take to improve your organization's data quality in a proactive way, before data errors and other issues cause business problems.

      Establishing and maintaining high levels of data quality is a constant challenge for organizations -- and the unbridled growth in the amounts of data they're generating makes that task more difficult. The use of data to help uncover new business insights and drive effective decision-making is also increasing at...
      May 19, 2022, 11:48 AM
    • Introducing Pioneer Station
      by [email protected]
      Orbital Assembly Announces the Pioneer Space Station for Gravity Enabled Tourism and Commercial Use

      Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC), the only company developing the first commercially viable, space-based business park with gravity, announces plans for its Pioneer class station, the first free-flying, habitable, privately-operated facility in orbit.

      The Pioneer-class are the world’s first and largest hybrid space stations for both work and stay. These customizable environments...
      May 19, 2022, 11:46 AM
    • Warehouse Automation is Creating Bigger Opportunities In Logistic Sector
      by [email protected]
      E-commerce businesses are becoming increasingly popular, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. To meet the rising demand for e-commerce volumes, the e-commerce industry along with the logistic companies are shifting to automation.

      There is a mutual growth between the eCommerce businesses and logistic industries, and it is a common trait.

      Automation is nothing new for the logistic industry. Even the use of steam engines during the industrial revolution can be labelled...
      May 04, 2022, 06:44 AM
    • Trihedral Engineering awarded IEC 62443-4-1 Certification
      by [email protected]
      The Security Development Lifecycle practiced by Trihedral Engineering in the development of VTScada has been assessed as meeting the requirements for Maturity Level 2.

      In practice, this means that Trihedral Engineering are flowing a set of development procedures, which conform to industry standards, when developing their flagship SCADA software VTScada, ensuring that there are no unsafe practices.

      One of the outcomes will be a Procedure for Management, Development and Testing...
      April 28, 2022, 11:22 AM
    • More falsehoods programmers believe about time; “wisdom of the crowd” edition
      by [email protected]
      A couple of days ago I decided to [write down some of the things I’ve learned about testing][testing_post] over the course of the last [several years.][codeascraft] In the course of enumerating the areas that benefit most from testing, I realized that I had accumulated a lot of specific thoughts about how we as programmers tend to abuse the concept of _time._ So I wrote another post called **“[falsehoods programmers believe about time][original_post],”** where I included 34 misconceptions...
      April 26, 2022, 09:07 AM