The 20th century was a powerhouse in terms of progress. While the Industrial Revolution set the world on a whole new course, social and technological change was relatively slow from then on. When you consider that the motor car was not actually invented until the end of the 19th century – nearly 150 years since the Industrial Revolution, the speed with which the car has evolved since is relatively fast.

Knowledge and progress

Progress during the last few decades of the 20th century was driven by our increasing knowledge and application of information technology, but this was restricted to big businesses who had the money and the space to house the massive processing units – a whole room was required to house the power that we now have in our phones.

The thing about progress is that it cannot go backwards. Once you have the knowledge, that knowledge needs to go forwards, and that is what we have seen in the 21st century.

We have highlighted some of our favourite 21st century inventions that have become the absolute norm in our lives since the calendar clicked in the 2000s.

Social media

It is fair to say that the concept of social media has completely upended the way we work and communicate. Kicked off by Friends Reunited in 2000. The arena was soon dominated by the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social media is not just about communicating with people on a global level – it is a massive advertising platform that has been able to create highly targeted approach on a global scale for relatively little cost.

E-cigarettes and disposable vapes

Knowing that smoking causes cancer is not always a strong enough reason to stop (or indeed never start) smoking. The psychological addiction is stronger than the nicotine addiction, that can be overcome with nicotine replacement.

The disposable vapes market has grown stratospherically over the last few years, to an estimated $6.34 billion, and has been instrumental in changing the smoking habits of hundreds of millions of users worldwide. Unfortunately, although it is believed that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to normal cigarettes, there is mounting evidence that some good still be increasing the risk of lung cancer.


Travel on any form of public transport in any city in any country and the vast majority of your fellow passengers will be face down looking at their phones. The Smartphone has become the one essential tool for life that dominates our every waking (and often sleeping) moment.

While originally mobile phones were used for making and receiving calls, technological advancements soon came thick and vast – MSM messaging, then picture messaging, Blackberries which became the essential executive tool.

Today every single every day task is carried out on our Smartphones – we do our banking, we send and receive emails, we count our steps, we play music, we take photos and videos, we doom scroll endlessly through social media, we get reminders about various appointments, we count our steps, we track our macros. The Smartphone has become the most controversial item in the 21s century simply because it can do so much, and absorbs so much of our time.


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Google has become such a massive part of our lives that it is now its own verb (a bit like to hoover!). Considering it was only invested officially in 1998, it is now the most widely used – and influential – web based search engine on the market.

As a business, if you are not on Google, you can bet your competitors are – and they will be getting all the work!

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