Steve Jobs Listed As Second Greatest Innovator Of All Time

In an interesting article, CNET is reporting on a poll taken by an organization called Lemelson-MIT, which tasks itself with celebrating inventors and their ideas. The group found that a collection of 1000 young people put Steve Jobs behind Thomas Edison as the world’s greatest innovator.

The pollsters were surprised to find that 52% of those they asked actually felt that Thomas Edison, the mind behind the phonograph and the light bulb, was who they saw as the greatest innovator of all time. A surprising number when considering that the ages of those polled was between 16 and 25.

The expectation was that with the recent media focus on the former Apple CEO, who passed away a few short months ago, would propel him to the first place position with such a young, technologically focused group. Steve did come in second with 24% of those polled putting him at the top of their list. Also surprising was a 3% showing for Mark Zuckerberg landing him in 5th place.

Take a look at the CNET post for the full breakdown of inventors and let us know in the comments who you think deserves the title.

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  • BugNo2

    I would accept this ranking, but only if No.1 place happened to be Sir John Ives.

  • Now we’re talking!

  • BugNo2

    2 things:
    1) I am an idiot for thinking his last name is Ives. It’s Ive. Apology to the the Knight Commander.
    2) Greatest invention of late Mr.Jobs was the discovery of John Ive. Mr. Jobs’ innovation continues by him retaining Ive for this long in Apple’s employ and finally what separates Mr. Jobs from mortal men–the fact that he gave John Ive operational supremacy after his death. That was the true greatness of Jobs–he had a great taste!

  • Anonymous

    Fair points.

  • Rio

    Yes John Ive. was a great designer/innovator but your forgetting who had the initial ideas for everything.

    Steve Jobs had all the great ideas and John Ive, simply helped steve take his ideas and make them real. THIS it self is amazingly great but doesn’t fit the definition of innovator.  IMO

  • BugNo2

    Yes, Jobs comes to Ive’s office and goes like: “These are the components: Sony’s cam, Samsung display, battery from so and so, ARM cpu by ARM Holdings… Ive, make me a phone! And make sure the whole world falls in love with it. I will come to check on you in a few days just so I don’t hate the look of it… Carry on good buddy…” 
    Come on man!
    It’s easy to innovate when you have a kick ass team! And Jobs was AWESOME in surrounding himself with awesome people! From good old dreamers like Voz to his super model could be wife… 
    I am not diminishing Mr. Jobs! Please don’t think that. But innovation came from the likes of Sir Ive! He design iPhone 2007 model that was equivalent of a gate way drug that is Apple today. I would never of bought Apple AirPort Express N router (among 12 other things that I have by Apple–I was a PC hard core boy til then) if it wasn’t for the iPhone 2007 model! 

  • Auto Strada

    As a film editor, digital compositor and multimedia designer, everything starts with an idea.

    Jobs had the ideas, as Rio said. He hired the right people and/or acquired the right companies to make his ideas happen.

    Remember, it was The Woz who actually built the first Macs, not Jobs. But without Jobs, The Woz wouldn’t have anything to to build. Apple wouldn’t be what it is today without Jobs. His greatest asset was being surrounded by GREAT people.

  • BugNo2

    @ Strada
    Just because I have a team and tell them to make me a machine that turns led to gold and they make it happen, doesn’t make me an innovator! That only makes me lucky to be on THEIR team! My point only!!! 

  • BugNo2

    @ Auto Strade
    Move over–Jobs also had an idea about NeXT… how did that go? 

  • BugNo2

    @ Auto Strada
    I get the idea of capitalism! I really do! But the subject is innovation. Edison didn’t invent AC/DC electricity we use today, Nikola Tesla, engineer who worked for him at the time, DID! 

  • Auto Strada

    Not all ideas pan out, Bug. Anyone knows that.

    Ideas are concepts that are not always perfect. Some work, some don’t. Jobs had ideas and got the right people to make them happen.

    And, if YOU had a team and gave them an idea to make something, you ARE an innovator. Just because other people know how to do things better than you doesn’t make you any less. They just know how to do things you don’t. Inversely, you conceptualized something they didn’t. Same thing.

    Remember, nothing happens without ideas.

    I can code websites, build motion graphics and edit music videos, but if I don’t have a concept of what I’m doing, I can’t do anything.  Think about it.

  • AC

    Excuse me… anyone else see a problem with this list… hello… TESLA????

  • BugNo2

    GRRR! I see where we disagree.
    We are both internalizing this discussion. You are looking at the perspective of owners, while I look at this from the perspective of little people.
    I guess the bottom line is “the history is written by victors”, which I will agree, in this argument would be you and Rio.
    I still say: 
    John Ive as inventor > Steve Jobs
    Sorry, can’t help it. Let’s agree to disagree 🙂

  • Auto Strada

    Bug: you’re misunderstanding me. I never said Ive was not innovative. As an inventor, he gets my vote. But innovation isnt limited to the iPhone. That said, it was Jobs who had the vision that started all the balls rolling.
    Doesn’t matter who the owner is/was. Jobs thought of it all. Even his acquisitions. He packaged everything into what Apple is today – music, video, phones, retail, computers, software…etc.

    The poll was about who INNOVATED. Jobs innovated the company that has changed much of our lives. Simple really.

  • BugNo2

    When you say “Steve packaged it all together”–that is a very convincing and valid argument, Sir! 
    I yield! 
    You are right! 
    You win this round, Sir! 
    Well played 🙂

  • Auto Strada

    I salute you! You’re a gentleman and a scholar.


  • BugNo2