Disruptive Innovations VII

Ten More Things to Stop and Think About

In our new report, the seventh in our Disruptive Innovations series, we once again look at some of the leading-edge concepts across sectors and identify new products that could ultimately disrupt the marketplace. This year again, there are a few concepts that have been around for quite a while — nuclear fusion and quantum computing — which have required a technological breakthrough to become reality. With nuclear fusion, we note there has been talk of a solution in the ‘next 20 years’ for about the past 50 years, but interest in the topic has recently peaked again with the increased global focus on renewable energy and the concept is only one small breakthrough away from becoming reality. Quantum computing is another subject talked about as perpetually on the horizon, but progress is accelerating here and we think that we could be close to a tipping point in technology in the near future.

In healthcare, we once again are spoiled for choice in terms of the ideas and concepts that are quickly coming down the pike. Robotic surgery makes up just 2% of all surgical procedures currently, but with advancements in visualization and robotics, this looks set to accelerate to almost 15% by 2030. Virtual healthcare is just starting to gain a foothold with the advent of telehealth, but going forward, we see it expanding to broader technology-enabled healthcare, spanning from urgent care all the way to chronic condition management and remote surgery — effectively replacing the four walls of a hospital with the patients’ home. Gene therapies, which are increasingly being reviewed and approved by regulators have the potential to make untreatable diseases treatable, eliminate some currently treated disease markets, transform the drug payer system, and increase the rate of drug development. Finally, we investigate the benefits and challenges of using probiotics as preventative medicine and an alternative to immune-related drug therapies

There is also a focus on sustainable innovation. Outside of simply emitting less carbon dioxide, we find carbon dioxide removal technology, such as carbon capture and storage/sequestration could be on the near horizon along with carbon pricing. Hydrogen-powered rail could be an indirect renewable energy story as hydrogen-powered trains, using fuel cells, have zero emissions at the point of use and don’t require an upgrade to track infrastructure. We also look at new technology initiatives to increase the quality of recycled fibers in order to offset the use of virgin materials in clothing manufacturing and the role that Digital Agriculture can play in ensuring not only cost savings for farmers through increased efficiency, but also as a sustainable solution to increase food yields in order to feed a growing population.