Apropos yesterday’s posting on broad innovation policy, come this story in TIME on the 50 Best Inventions 2008. We may still be gadget oriented when it comes to the word “invention,” but the TIME’s list has a couple of social and process (non-technological) inventions on the list, including MacroMarkets, co-founded by economist Robert Shiller, which will offer the first exchange-traded funds on housing prices; the Vatican’s new Seven New Deadly Sins; the proposal for new short-term housing refinance; the “Branded Candidate” ala Obama; the use of instant replay in baseball; and Montreal’s Public Bike System, nicknamed Bixi. My favorite “invention” was Number 36. The New Ping-Pong Serve:
German Olympian Dimitrij Ovtcharov’s serve isn’t about power. It’s about weirdness. Crouching to table-level, he peers over his paddle and executes a hand dance before launching the ball at his opponent, who is probably too dumbfounded to respond. Which, of course, is the point.
As they say, whatever works.