As technology continues to impact every industry – innovation is the key consideration for companies to ensure future growth and development. On World IP Day we take a closer look at some of the technologies that are fundamentally changing the shape of the future: from space travel to 3D printing and artificial intelligence.

Out of this world

We recently published an Innovation Intelligence report that investigated how manned space flight is a new frontier for innovation. Less than 600 people have left planet Earth since Yuri Gagarin made his historic first orbits in 1961.  Yet a whole new industry is emerging around commercial spaceflight.   Its mission is to make access to space cheaper, safer and more common.

The US Government has approved Moon Express - a Mountain View start up - to fly passengers to the Moon on commercial space flights. The company plans to test its MX-1 lunar lander on a Rocket Lab Electron booster in 2017, before embarking on its first manned mission.

3D printing – the next revolution in medicine

Innovation in manned space flight is set to revolutionise space travel.  Closer to home, innovation in the medical sector has the potential to dramatically change the provision of healthcare. 3D printing technology has already been developed within the medical field to improve people’s lives.

Organovo is using 3D printing technology to create functional, three-dimensional tissues that can be implanted into the human body to repair or replace damaged or diseased tissues (US 9,149,952). Medical engineers in Germany have been developing skin cell bio-printing since 2010, and researcher James Yoo from Wake Forest Institute is developing skin graft printing that can be applied directly to burns victims (US 8,691,274). While tissue and of organ cells are being printed to improve human wellbeing, diseased and cancerous cells are also being created to more effectively study how tumours grow and develop.  This research will help deliver better healthcare to sufferers of chronic illnesses in the future

According to research from Markets and Markets, 3D printing for medical applications could have a market value of $2.13 billion by 2020.

The machine effect

According to a recent survey of 122 founders, executives and investors in health-tech companies by Silicon Valley Bank, big data and artificial intelligence will have a significant effect on the industry in the year ahead.

Whole-genome sequencing, high-resolution imaging technologies and automation have triggered an increase in data production. The new data – including physiological, behavioural, molecular, clinical, environmental exposure, medical imaging, disease management, medication prescription history, nutrition and exercise parameters – can be used to track the health of individuals and populations in in more detail than ever before.

Just yesterday British firm Babylon announced a £50 million investment in a smartphone app that uses machine learning to diagnose patients.  Could the future of doctors’ appointments be via the smartphone?

What comes next?

Innovation is no longer reserved for organisations looking to gain a competitive edge in an industry, it is now motivated by people and the desire to impact lives. With technological implementations already improving health monitoring, education, travel and communication – among many others sectors – innovation has no boundaries. Should all industries embrace idea generation, the future of IP will be both wide-ranging and rewarding.

Read more in our CEO’s new whitepaper: The Innovation Imperative.