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Being constructive with disruptive technologies

Most organisations that operate in technology-intensive sectors recognise that certain emerging technologies have the potential to disrupt the markets they serve. The recent demise of Polaroid film, caused by the rise of digital photography, is a high profile example, but every industry has its potentially disruptive technology waiting in the wings – whether it’s regenerative medicine for the orthopaedics business or cloud computing for the PC industry.

Understanding the potential impact of emerging technologies is a complex exercise. Disruptive technologies often stem from scientific disciplines different to those that are common currency in the sector. Moreover, market disruption may result from a convergence of several distinct technologies, each with different levels of maturity and lead times.

In PA Consulting Group’s experience, even when organisations have a reasonable grasp of the nature of potentially disruptive technologies, they can struggle to link the impact to their future business. Sometimes, the inability to model potential impact is caused by a lack of a clear, strategic view of how industry drivers will shape market needs. Sometimes it is caused by a difficulty in projecting how technologies will combine to meet future targets for products and services. Collectively, these issues can challenge many businesses as they seek to manage their technology base strategically.

A recent PA survey on Open Innovation (OI) found that the significant energy invested in identifying new technology capabilities can be dissipated if there is no strategic model of how technologies will contribute to future market success.

So, how can organisations develop a consistent and coherent view of how drivers will shape their markets and how disruptive technologies can contribute to the business in future? PA approaches this question for clients through a combination of scenario planning, using our FutureWorlds process, and creating Technology Roadmaps.

Our FutureWorlds process identifies the key drivers and their implications on the relevant markets. Then, we create Technology Roadmaps to link together the technologies that can address new opportunities that emerge as new market needs arise.

The FutureWorlds process and Technology Roadmaps draw on our multidisciplinary technology base (where we complement our client’s expertise) and our experience of projecting the trajectory of emerging technologies. Our clients find that this approach helps to create a model of how disruptive technologies can be harnessed constructively, enabling them to manage technologies strategically.

To find out more about PA’s Technology Roadmap approach and how to be constructive about disruptive technologies, please contact us now.

Mark Humphries
Product development and manufacturing
contact us now

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