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Three Key Themes Among the Top Tech for 2020

Cosmin Laslau, Ph.D., Director, Research Products & Michael Holman, Ph.D., VP, Research
December 22, 2019

The 20 technologies we identified as having the greatest potential to transform the world are compelling individually. However, the stories they tell as a group are equally as important. In looking at our 20 for 20 list, we identified three key themes among the top tech for the new year. This year's technologies fall into three categories; renaissance technologies, platform technologies and breakthrough technologies.

1. Renaissance technologies are newly relevant

Some technologies on our list aren't necessarily new, but they are newly relevant. A combination of megatrends, market demand, and new innovations has thrust these technologies back into the strategic prominence. These technologies have been around for a while in some form -- some having gone for a ride or two on the hype circle in the past; others have just been regarded as stodgy fields that aren't associated with cutting-edge innovation. 

Renaissance technologies in the 20 for 20 report include:

  • Advanced plastic recycling
  • Commercial vehicle automation
  • Natural language processing
  • Hydrogen & fuel cells
  • Omics
  • Flow batteries

2. Platform technologies' impact is in what they enable

These technologies are of interest not because of what they do on their own but for how other innovations can piggyback off of them. Platform technologies become the foundation of a new generation of business ideas and an enabler for new technologies that can leverage these innovations to build even greater capabilities.

Platform technologies in the 20 for 20 report include:

  • 5G networks
  • Shared mobility
  • Point-of-use sensing
  • 3D printing
  • Energy trading platforms
  • Last-mile delivery

3. Breakthrough technologies are highly innovative, but impact is unclear

Some technologies act as bursts of tech innovation brilliance. It might not be completely clear what all the applications will be, but the surge of innovation interest around these technologies makes them impossible to ignore. The risk is that these technologies could be just a "tech push" without a market pull, but when they align to an unmet need or demand, the result is explosive.

Breakthrough technologies in the 20 for 20 report include:

  • Solid-state batteries
  • Quantum computing
  • Battery fast charging
  • 2D materials
  • Vertical farming

The Lux 20 for 20 report ranks 20 technologies that will reshape the world, based on innovation interest scores from the Lux Intelligence Engine, along with input from Lux’s leading analysts. For more informational about the themes, read our case studies and find out who's capitalizing on these technologies by downloading the executive summary for our 20 for 20 report.




- Executive Summary: 20 for 20 Annual Report (Free Download)

- Blog: The Top Transformational Technologies to Watch in 2020

- Executive Summary: 19 for 2019 Report (Last Year's List)

- Blog: Can AI Make Innovation Any Easier?

Download the 20 for 20 List    Schedule Demo