Often when we try to promote technological learning and innovation, we find that people in government and industry focus narrowly on physical technologies in the form of things, machines, software code or processes. Few workplaces pay attention to the many social technologies needed to rearrange or adapt workplaces around new technological capabilities. Furthermore, different stakeholders have little open dialogue about how the gaps can be closed between industries and technological and educational institutions, or how to establish missing technological infrastructure.

Most industry actors concentrate on the slow process of technological change within their industry, rather than on the potential disruptions posed by technological developments beyond their industry. One explanation for this blind spot is that it is hard to imagine how the current technological features of the emerging technologies developed elsewhere could unfold or spill over into existing market structures.

18 JULY 2022

As we move between kinds of research programmes and publicly funded technology organisations, we are often struck by the diversity and sophistication of capability that exists in these organisations. The worst is that many of these organisations complain that the private sector is not really interested in what they have to offer.

It begs the question of how this scarce equipment, specialised expertise and sophisticated know-how disseminates to the private sector and the rest of the society.

Researchers often explain that technology from universities flows toward industry through licensing agreements, publications and various kinds of education programmes. Yet, when we speak to industry, we often hear a different story. Only a handful of pioneering companies successfully license technology from public research programmes.

1 JUNE 2022

Over the past two years, we have all lived through the many disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding, looting and family members walking in during a video call.

But have you paused to think about what it means to be disrupted by a change in technology?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines innovation as “as the act or process of disrupting something: a break or interruption in the normal course or continuation of some activity, process …”

Disruption means that somebody or something is interrupted by somebody or something else. Plans may no longer be valid as priorities have changed. Disruption is more than the promise of new possibilities: it implies inconvenience.

24 NOVEMBER 2021

We are constantly being confronted with predictions of how new technologies may affect our workplaces, our personal lives, and how we interact with others. Even if we ignore all the hype, we can sense how digital technologies are being embedded into more and more of the everyday devices that we use to control the environments around us.

Within this sea of contrasting and ever-changing information, managers must make decisions while balancing short-term operational requirements with potential longer-term strategies. Do they continue with the incremental changes within technology domains that are more familiar? Or do they take the plunge by switching to alternative technologies and all the uncertainty that comes with trying something different? Or is it possible to try several alternatives while still building on what is already in place?