evolutionary stages of disruptive technologies

evolutionary stages of disruptive technologies - 322 IEEE...

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322 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT, VOL. 49, NO. 4, NOVEMBER 2002 Guest Editorial A Practitioner’s View: Evolutionary Stages of Disruptive Technologies Abstract— Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have seen that disruptive technologies when successful evolve into three distinct stages. Each stage is characterized by a distinct market size and level of infrastructure. Each stage elicits specific behav- ioral responses. Stage I is achieved when the proposed concept is demonstrated. At this point, the technology has not found a market and essentially none of the required infrastructure exists. In Stage 2, the emergent technology establishes a specific application for a limited market, which enables the development and maturation of a limited infrastructure. Stage 3 is achieved when the technology achieves widespread application in the solution set for product developers. Experience suggests that Stage 2 is achieved only when the disruptive technology can provide a unique solution to a problem of substantial importance. However, to expand to the commercial maturity accomplished in Stage 3, the emergent technology must either continue to find important but unresolved problems or alternatively must compete for differential advantage against the defensive innovations of established technologies in the targeted application areas. “True believers” who are committed to the emergent technology sustain Stage 1 and Stage 2 activities. Finally, the authors note the importance of targeting the correct application area to evolve the technology from Stage 2 to Stage 3 behavior. The evolution from Stage 2 to Stage 3 can be con- sidered a coupled system as the emergent technology encounters feedback from the marketplace and competition from established technologies. These factors introduce nonlinearities in the system, making the application of traditional linear technology forecasting techniques problematic for emergent technologies. The authors provide anecdotal evidence in the form of a case study centered on ion implantation, a disruptive technological step in a sustaining technology platform. I. INTRODUCTION N OVEL technologies often are developed prior to estab- lishing unique application arenas that can provide the fi- nancial support for their further development and maturation. In some cases, after creating new technologies, innovators either in a national lab or in commercial enterprise rush to identify some product or process challenge for which their invention provides a viable solution. In other cases, a novel technology is the re- sult of targeted development for a limited application. At Sandia National Laboratories, we have observed the evolution of robust and successful disruptive technologies. We have found that the successful disruptive technologies that achieve widespread ap- plication typically follow three stages of evolution. Each stage has a different level of infrastructure, a characteristic market po- sition, and elicits distinct behavioral responses. In this paper,
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This note was uploaded on 03/29/2011 for the course ENGR 9397 taught by Professor Susanhunt during the Winter '11 term at Memorial University.

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evolutionary stages of disruptive technologies - 322 IEEE...

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