REVEALED: The UK’s most popular inventions

A new survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by Product Focus has revealed the UK’s favorite inventions of the past 25 years.

The survey, which explores what Product Management means for our day-to-day lives, turned up some surprising findings.

For example, the product that most people would like invented next is the flying car!

The best products of the past 25 years

WiFi, smartphones and online banking

These have been named the top three inventions of the last 25 years.

For the products and developments which have impressed us most over the last quarter of a century and made the biggest impact on our lives:

      • 48% chose WiFi as their favorite and most impactful invention
      • 41% chose smartphone technology
      • 35% considered online banking a major development

These were followed by the Google search engine and the development of online shopping platforms like Amazon.

What else?

The last 25 years have seen an explosion in technical development and creativity which has improved our quality of life.

In the last couple of decades, we have planted our feet firmly in the digital age, and innovations like WiFi, online banking and search engines are great examples of products that as a result of hard work and continuous development have become vital and beneficial parts of everyday life.

The other key inventions from the last 25 years we hold in high regard were:

    • Stem cell technology
    • GPS
    • contactless payment
    • flat-screen TVs

What makes a successful invention?

In order to be considered a successful invention:

    • three in five people believe a product needs to fill a gap in the market
    • 54% think the invention needs to improve lives in order to go down in history
    • a third think the design has to ‘break the mold’ of what has come before

Interestingly, 43% of people polled in the survey, conducted by, thought their favorite invention of the last 25 years took a number of iterations to perfect. And 54% agree that hard work and teamwork make a product happen.

Who are the most visionary inventors?

In the survey, people were asked who they thought were the most visionary inventors of the last 25 years.

    • 1st – Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder
    • 2nd – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web inventor
    • 3rd – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder

And charisma is important in a creator, as a third of Brits said they would be more likely to buy the product of an inventor they liked personally.

The future of inventing

Nearly one in two of us want to see further product developments in the area of transport to help make our lives easier and the number 1 product we want is flying cars!

    • 25% would like a visionary inventor to tackle the food and drink industry
    • three in five think the health sector should be prioritized and 46% think the biggest new innovations of the near future will come from medical technology
    • 25% are looking forward to the next leap in artificial intelligence to make the world better

Secret ideas for world-changing inventions!

Finally, one in 10 Brits think they currently have an idea for a world-changing invention – but wouldn’t be willing to share their idea in case someone stole it.

What next?

We can’t wait to see what the future of technology development has in store for the UK.

While it’s great to see larger-than-life characters like Steve Jobs held in such regard by the British public, it’s important to remember that these amazing inventions are the result of multiple companies with teams of product developers, product managers and designers all working hard for a shared vision, rather than being shouldered by the singular efforts of a particular inventor.

The top 25 inventions of the last 25 years

1. WiFi
2. Smartphones
3. Online banking
4. Online search, e.g. Google
5. Online shopping, e.g. Amazon
6. Stem cell technology
7. GPS
8. Flat-screen TVs
9. Contactless payment
10. Tablets
11. YouTube
12. 3D printers
13. Netflix
14. Data encryption
15. Skype
16. Modern electric cars, e.g. Tesla Model S
17. Kindle
18. Bluetooth
19. Facebook
20. Wireless headphones
21. Ancestry DNA kits
22. Sony games consoles (PlayStation line)
23. Amazon Echo
24. Spotify
25. Fitbit



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