The changing technology environment has and still become one of the biggest challenges in international business management. Technological changes can wreak havoc on industries. In making decisions regarding technological changes, companies err in two ways. They either commit themselves to a new technology too fast and burn their fingers or wait and watch while another company comes up with a new technology that puts them out of business. The issue of when and how to react to the emergence of a new technology is a matter of judgment. However, this judgment need not be based purely on intuition. By doing a systematic structured analysis of developments in the technological environment and putting in place the necessary organizational mechanisms, technology risk in business can be considerably reduced.
How can managers identify the emergence of a disruptive technology? Clayton Christensen’s research reveals that disruptive technologies are often developed privately by engineers working for established firms. When such technologies are presented to customers, they get a lukewarm response. So, established companies do not give much importance to these technologies. The frustrated engineers consequently join start-ups, who are prepared to look for new customers. Companies must take note when talented scientists and researchers leave them to join start-ups. Often, they do so, to work in an environment where their innovative ideas are taken more seriously.
Companies must also learn to assess the impact of a new technology. The steam engine was developed for pumping water out of flooded mines. It was years before a range of applications was developed in industries and for transportation.… Read the rest