The following are some popular and established yet (I believe) untrue opinions about the subject of Technology and World Change, along with my reasons for disagreeing: 1. In Technology and World Change class, you learn to (radically) innovate. This is not true. TWC is not a module designed to teach students to innovate per se and turn them all into successful innovators by the end of the semester. Rather, it teaches students about innovations, the types of innovation, the many facets and stages involved in the process of innovation, how to categorise innovations, what to keep in mind while innovating and how to go about it.
It teaches students about what challenges to expect as entrepreneurs, how to face these challenges and what direction to proceed in. One of the most important lessons taught in TWC is why some innovations succeed, while others fail. 2. The iPod is a radical invention. Firstly, it is innovations that are radical or otherwise, not inventions. That said, the iPod is not a radical innovation. It is simply an MP3 player with a twist – a clickwheel and an excellent marketing strategy – an incremental innovation.
Christensen (1997) defines incremental innovation as ‘a change that builds on a firm’s expertise in component technology within an established architecture’; this holds true for the iPod. Apple and Steve Jobs’ unique and hugely successful marketing strategy, which involves a lot of hype and fanfare about a product yet to be launched, has made it the forerunner in the MP3 player market with the iPod just being an improvement of the many other players in the market (the Creative Zen, Sony Walkman etc. ).
3. Only radical inventions are successful and worthy of commercialisation. Definitely not. While radical innovations do tend impact society rather strongly, other types of innovation have also been largely successful. The Sony Walkman was one of Apple’s main competitors. An architectural innovation, the Walkman had a significant impact on society, in that it changed people’s behaviour, especially the younger generation. It served to encourage building entertainment into a healthy lifestyle by promote an array of physical activities.
Interestingly (and catering more to Melody’s interests), it was this architectural innovation that gave Sony the strong foothold as a force to reckon with in the consumer electronics market, securing the company’s future in that direction. 4. Radical innovators make a lot of money along the way and become rich. Written and compiled entirely by Karishma Krishnan This is hard point to categorically agree or disagree upon. Yes, it is simple enough that if the innovation, whether or not it is radical, is successful and rakes in money, the innovator will be rich.
However, this is a very simplistic way of looking at it. There are many complications that can and will arise during innovation, and these affect the outcome. In a way, incremental, modular and architectural innovations are a safer bet in that they are more likely to be easily accepted by the market. Radical innovations run the risk of being rejected outright – but on the other hand, they also have the chance of completely destroying competition and taking over the market.
This is a huge gamble for the innovator in that he or she must put in a hefty sum of money because radical innovations require a new skill set, new knowledge, new production methods and new workers or training systems. In addition the marketing strategy must be designed with great care so as to prepare the market adequately. In addition, considering the (radical) innovation is a success, the amount of money the innovator will receive depends on whether he or she is an individual innovator or is working for a larger organisation – either as an employee or by contract.
Patenting is also an issue in this sense – if the innovator is a mere employee, he or she will have no Intellectual Property Rights. If he or she is working with them by contract, they may be able to share the rights. The possession of IPR also plays a role in what amount of money the innovator receives from the sale of their product. Innovation, especially radical innovation, therefore, is definitely not a way to earn a quick buck; there is a lot of funding and effort that needs to go in to the project for it to have positive outcomes in the long un. On the whole, I believe one should go in to TWC with the hopes of emerging a more knowledgeable individual with regards to the basics of innovation, the reasons for their successes and failures, how to go about innovating and what to expect when. Whether one’s innovation is radical or incremental, modular or architectural, whether one makes money or not will all depend on that.