Predicting the emergence of innovations from technological convergence: Lessons from the twentieth century

Steven Schnaars, Gloria Thomas, Caglar Irmak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article takes a historical perspective to examine technological convergences that occurred throughout the twentieth century in an attempt to gain insights that may be helpful today. It analyzes five case histories where experts predicted that two or more existing technologies would converge to create an entirely new product and market. The cases are studied for their unique points of difference as well as for their commonalities. They lead to the conclusion that despite the confidence and enthusiasm in the forecasts, the convergences typically took decades longer than expected and often materialized in forms that bore little resemblance to the original predictions. Failures occurred for a variety of reasons, ranging from a lack of market acceptance to a waning of one of the original technologies prior to the convergence. The results have implications for businesses and consumers concerned with current predictions of new technological convergences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-168
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Macromarketing
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • History
  • Innovation
  • New products
  • Technological convergence
  • Technological forecasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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