Mother of All Inventions?

By Shari Storm

A friend recently posted on her Facebook page one interesting question, “What do you think are the top three inventions of our lifetime?” 

The answers were plentiful and as varied as her friends 

My list was: 

cookie dough ice cream

GPS

credit cards 

I remember when Ben & Jerry launched Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream inSeattle. It was the summer of 1991. My best friend and I were living in a ransacked fraternity house at theUniversityofWashington(we were barely in our 20’s at the time). We would drive all over the city looking for that ice cream. I wondered at the time how nobody had thought of that combination before. Nineteen years later, it is still one of my favorite desserts. 

Just when I thought all the cool inventions had already been invented, along came the GPS. My husband’s parents gave me one after I got lost in the mountains with our three young daughters and drove around the dark snowy roads for hours. I have a terrible sense of direction and that little talking unit in my car has changed my quality of life completely. I recently discovered that you can get luggage with GPS badges in them. How brilliant is that? You never have to rely on the airlines to tell you where your luggage is again! 

And since this is a financial industry blog, I have to add credit cards as one of the most amazing inventions of our lifetime. The fact that you use a 3 inch by 2 inch card practically anywhere in the world and information on available funds is transmitted almost instantaneously is really quite fantastic. The impact of third party lending and simplified transaction processes on our economy is somewhat mind boggling. Imagine how limited commerce would be if we were still required to carry around wads of cash or if merchants had to decide the credit worthiness of a potential customer who wanted to write a check.  Imagine what the internet would have become (or NOT have become) had we not had the ability to move money electronically. We often take for granted how much credit cards have enhanced our lives.   

Speaking of inventions… did you know the Co-Op is currently sponsoring a contest to help spur innovation in the credit union industry? You can find out more about the three finalists’ ideas here. http://www.thinkprizevote.org/  While you are there, take a moment to vote for the idea you think is best. Hopefully, it’s my idea. But if not, still vote. Your vote could play one small part of bringing a new invention to our industry. 

That said – what do you think are the best three inventions of our lifetime?

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7 thoughts on “Mother of All Inventions?

  1. 1. Remote control;
    2. Microwave oven; and
    3. The Tomahawk cruise missile (Navy guy)

    Honorable mentions: PC (computers were invented prior to my birth), Internet (started by US Military as ARPANet, contrary to Al Gore’s belief), Cell phone

  2. Shari,

    Great interactive question. My top three are:

    1. The ipod (and I’m not even an Apple guy)
    2. The riding lawnmower (you can mow the grass WHILE you’re sitting down!)
    3. The slap choppy (I LOVE that thing!)

  3. Shari,

    Like you I love the GPS. It definitely keeps me going in the right direction! My top three:

    GPS
    E-Book readers
    Debit cards

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