Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Saturday, September 06, 2003

  Nobody expects the technological revolution!

From the economist's: Technological Quarterly:

From a study of 197 product innovations consisting of 111 successes and 86 failures, (apparently available only in hebrew):

taking advantage of random events is the most effective strategy for creating successful products. The two worst? Trend following and mental inventions. Need spotting produced twice as many successes as failures, market research generated four times more, and solution spotting (finding a new way to use existing technology) created seven times more successes than failures.

I liked these divisions of ideation, but there's two things I'd like to note.

One: The study was done in 1999, a time of a great many innovations. Long tem market stable business models (e.g. of the 111 successes - how many survived til 2003?) need to be followed up on.

Two: at the end of their editorial the Economist makes a trendy prediction: "With the pace of innovation hotting up, any enterprise that fails to replace 10% of its revenue stream annually is likely to be out of business within five years".

Bull. These two ideas don't logically follow each other. I'd go into it more but I figure I'll try for an invite to their Innovation Summit, Sept 23rd, to try and figure out just what the heck they are talking about.

The rest of the quarterly (behind the paywall, sad to say) is full of gee-whiz bang extrapolations of interesting technologies. The most promising articles: - "A web address for every car?" - I'm not as much into using satelites like OnStar but more into 802.11 and bluetooth to provide a "docking station" for your car much like one for your laptop - but yea, every car is going to be networked somehow, soon.

Then there's an article on Webfountain. I've been busy exploring the limits of google - webfountain (and a few other search engines on the drawing boards) may take us to the next step of increasing our global IQ.

There's a bit on IT - penny-pinching being all the rage nowadays - Great quote: Few things in technology have promised so much and delivered so little as CRM software. Yep, after suffering through multiple instantiations of Seibold, SAP, and Oracle, etc, over the past 10 decades, I gotta say that I agree.

Great article on increasing LCD technology to the size of plasma displays... I don't know how likely that LCDs will increase in size, but I sure would like them to increase in density and decrease in power consumption - the screen cost dominates that cost of your typical handheld and laptop, and that cost ratio is getting worse - not better. 640x580 in a palm sized form factor would make for some really readable text-reading experience - I'd settle for monochrome at this res...

Too bad most of these articles are behind the paywall...

Lastly: After 10 years of the economist being online - I'd like to see someone publish how accurate the economist has been at spotting successful technologies - and for that matter, successful studies.

 
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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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