Steve Jobs Ranks as #2 Innovator of All Time Among Young Adults

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Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs ranks as the number two greatest innovator of all time among young adults, trailing only Thomas Edison.

Lemelson-MIT Invention Index

The annual Lemelson-MIT Invention Index conducted the survey, aimed at young adults aged 16 to 25, and found that 24 percent of respondents labeled the late Mr. Jobs as the greatest innovator of all time. Mr. Edison, inventor or influencer of many modern day technologies that society takes for granted, safely took first place with 52 percent.

The results were surprising to the Lemelson-MIT researchers, as the survey was aimed only at young adults in the United States. This demographic is highly influenced by technologies and consumer electronics provided by Apple and has been subjected to much lauding of Mr. Jobs by the media, especially since his death. It is therefore reassuring that, despite modern day coverage, young adults still have a grasp on history. Perhaps the only concerning thing about this list is the inclusion of someone like Mark Zuckerberg over Nikola Tesla. 

SmartPlanet identified some other interesting results from the survey: 40 percent said they couldn’t imagine their lives without constant technological development, such as smartphones and tablets, while 45 percent felt that such a future was grim due to their estimation that schools don’t currently provide enough attention to innovation. Even more troubling was that 60 percent stated that they would not pursue an education or career in science, technology, engineering or math.

There were some positive results, however, with 80 percent willing to take advantage of activities and training outside of the classroom intended to help them become more inventive and creative. Further, 58 percent wanted even more, expressing interest in hands-on programs and co-ops in which young creatives can “shadow” working professionals.

The results of the survey will likely draw criticism from a community still coming to terms on Mr. Jobs’s life. While many praise him as the greatest modern-day inventor, others argue that his genius resulted more from marketing and “tweaking” and that he is often credited for creations that were the work of others. Regardless, his is inextricably linked with technological innovation and, at least in the views of young adults, he sits with fine company in annals of history.

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10 Comments Leave Your Own

dbarnard1

Even more troubling was that 60 percent stated that they would not pursue an education or career in science, technology, engineering or math.

I don’t think that’s troubling at all. I think 40% of respondents indicating that they do plan to pursue a technical field is actually very positive. Even that figure is probably higher than the percent that actually have an aptitude for it.

geoduck

Perhaps the only concerning thing about this list is the inclusion of someone like Mark Zuckerberg over Nikola Tesla.

Agreed. MZ took an idea that a lot of people were working on at the time and got lucky. His hit the big time while MySpace et.al faded. Like evolution, roll the dice again and a different winner would appear.

More interesting was the absence of Bill Gates. I don’t think he was in the Edison league but at least he founded a company that produced a few inventions and had a major impact. In ten years Zuckerburg will be on “Where Are They Now?”.

lardlad

Why is he all mean looking.
And where is Ballmer and Gates?

geoduck

Why is he all mean looking.

I was thinking he looked rather Vulcan.

Dorje Sylas

others argue that his genius resulted more from marketing and ?tweaking? and that he is often credited for creations that were the work of others

Then he’s in good company with Edison who ran an idea factory and took credit for much of the work done by others under his roof. Often the “best” remembered inventors are those who are also outstanding salesmen, the person who sells the idea is remembered as having it.

Lee Dronick

Her heroic flights not with standing what did Amelia Earhart innovate. A pioneer yes, innovator I don’t see it. I am not discounting her accomplishments.

Nicolas Telsa
James Watt
Archie Medes
Galileo Galilei

RonMacGuy

And where is Ballmer and Gates?

Ballmer?!?  LOL.

geoduck

Her heroic flights not with standing what did Amelia Earhart innovate.

Good point and to carry that further, I’d say Temple Grandin did more than Earhart or Zuckerburg combined.

xmattingly

Charles Lindbergh was a bigger innovator (and probably more of a pioneer) than Amelia Earhart. And who the hell is Temple Grandin?! smile

wab95

Jim:

I was loathe to make this observation, but having slept on it, and finding it still there, well…

I find it curious, tending towards a sense of vindication, that none of the Google illuminati are listed here.

It suggests that, among youth, even if one wants to argue that there are serious skip lesions in their grasp of history, as a generation they are not beguiled into thinking that Google have innovated much beyond their search engine. Specifically, they do not appear to believe that Google have independently developed a mobile platform and support systems on par with iOS and its supported devices and services, which even a 2% honourable mention might have suggested.

I should add (hence the edit) that around my university, I have heard a number of Android users (students all) openly admit that Android is an imitation, pure and simple, of iOS - just a cheaper one. Bells and whistles notwithstanding.

That MZ is even on this list with nothing but FB to show for it has got to gall even the stoutest of livers at Google.

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