With everyone else in the year-end spirit of looking back, I'm ready to look forward. Forget smart watches, 3-D printers, and hoverboards -- the year's most outstanding innovations were the ones we didn't see. My best-of list is a wish-list. Here's the top innovations we should've seen in 2014. In a perfect world, we'll see them in 2015.
Reckless Driver Identification App: The concept is simple. You see a vehicle driving recklessly. You point your phone at the vehicle and the car is scanned, tagged, and added to a database. An image of the reckless car appears on your smart phone GPS app. Every time that driver is in your vicinity, his or her car appears on your GPS as someone to avoid. You can share your Reckless Driver database with friends and colleagues. When the reckless drivers inevitably cause a wreck, this data base information is admissible to law enforcement, the legal system and, of course, their insurance company. Think of it as the social network you don't want to be a part of.
Stat Boy for Facebook: If you've ever seen ESPN's sports talk show, Pardon the Interruption, you get the idea. The two sports columnists Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon argue the key issues of the day. Like any good argument in a sports bar, they play fast and loose with the facts. So at the commercial breaks, the "stat boy" Tony Reali jumps in and corrects all the errors. It completely changes the arguments and shows who's really right. Now let's apply this role to Facebook. How many times have your friends from work, church, or high school posted things that are just factually incorrect and then go on to rant about them? For a small fee, you can anonymously enlist a Stat Boy for Facebook. Your Facebook Friends can still post their opinions, but at least everyone will know who's right.
Smart Airport Ticket Scanners: Have you ever tried to board a plane only to see the line over-run by those over-eager, pushy people who try to board before it's their turn? Is it any wonder that we have so many late flights? Here's the solution. If you try to board before your section is called, your ticket is immediately downgraded to the last group that boards and you are required to check your luggage. Similarly, the Smart Airport Ticket Scanners can immediately access your profile. The airlines and airports keep a database. If you are a repeated offender, you get on the no-fly list. Conversely, if you board as directed and are identified as helpful to those who need a little help, you can be upgraded to business class. This will protect us from all the poor manners that even TSA can't screen for.
Of course these are just the beginning. What about a reverse crowd-sourcing app that takes money away from people with stupid ideas? Because for every Kickstarter, we also need a Kickstopper. Or how about a fantasy politician league where you can draft, drop, and trade players online and the real politicians get to see their statistics, standings, and wins and losses. It'll be March Madness year-round.
I've made my list--now check it (twice). Tell me what's missing--the nice and the naughty. Which innovations that never came to be in 2014 would you like to see next year?