As 2011 comes to a close and news outlets draw up their inevitable year-end lists, one 2011 factoid caught our eye. “iPhone” was the most popular search term of 2011, marking the first time in 10 years that a piece of technology has topped that list. And so it’s fitting that we also end the year for IV Insights on the theme of invention, with some of IV’s recent press highlights:

  • Edward Jung, co-founder and CTO of Intellectual Ventures, spoke with MIT Technology Review about his vision for a new model of collaborative innovation to tackle civilization-scale problems, from the emergence of mega-cities to the growing global elderly population: “A lot of the problems we're looking at now vastly exceed the abilities of single companies. In the past, every now and then a government would step in and try to align lots of companies around big problems… But by and large, governments are kind of out of that business now.”
  • In his monthly Bloomberg column, IV’s CEO Nathan Myhrvold also discussed the global role of invention, focusing on the power of invention to drive economic growth: “Yes, Virginia, there is a magical engine for economic growth. It is invention -- the process by which the human mind creates new ideas with practical consequences. Invention is magical because the magnitude of the output can exceed by almost infinite measure the magnitude of the inputs. A single great idea can generate enormous transformations, economic and otherwise."
  • After a recent visit to the Ministry of Science and Technology in Beijing, the TerraPower team addressed growing interest in the commercial development of its traveling wave reactor: “We are seeing great interest in our approach to innovative nuclear reactor designs. Demand is high for nuclear energy technology that converts low-level waste into fuel without reprocessing and sustainably meets global electricity needs. So our conversations continue with many countries that have active nuclear programs.”

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