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The days of the Next Big Thing could be over

Alan Cane
Financial Times
10 December 2009

This article in the Financial Times Companies & Markets section looks at the likely breakthroughs in the IT world, and the challenges, around predicting the “next big thing”. PA Consulting Group’s Rob Gear, head of the innovation unit, and David Elton, IT and change management specialist, commented on the task of defining the next big thing.

In the article Rob points out that the next big thing for one person will have little impact for others.  Rob says: “Some breakthroughs will transform life for certain people in certain geographies but that same breakthrough will have little or no relevance for others. A BlackBerry or iPhone might have transformed the life of your average urban office worker but it has had little or no bearing on the life of the tribesmen of the Masai Mara.”

Commenting on the next big thing David Elton goes on to say that these are less rare than is believed: “These are things that have changed the way we live and work: search engines, text messaging, wikis, bar codes, RFID (radio frequency identifiers), liquid crystal displays and cheap disk storage.”

David goes on to comment that “market moments” – the coming together of technology, price point and market demand – define big things, giving as an example online retailing: “The first time round in 2001-2003, it was a damp squib. The second go, from 2004, took off like a train. The difference: a market moment. People wanted it, the technology was there; they just needed secure online payment mechanisms.”

You can read the article in full here 


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