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Exploring over the Presumed Identity of Emerging Technology

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  • Thomas Gillier

    () (CITE - Centre pour l'Innovation Technologique et Entrepreneuriale - Grenoble École de Management (GEM), MTS - Management Technologique et Strategique - Grenoble École de Management (GEM))

  • Gérald Piat

    () (EDF - EDF, createam - EDF R&D - EDF R&D - EDF - EDF)

Abstract

While scientists are stepping up their efforts to develop new technologies, the ability of firms to determine the value of their technologies by identifying potential applications has become a major challenge. This article focuses on a particular phase of technology development: the emergence phase. When a promising new technology first sees the light of day in a fundamental research laboratory, its target markets often seem plentiful but are ill-defined. The inability to produce prototypes or to identify potential users makes it difficult to explore potential commercial applications. On the basis of four micro-nanotechnologies case-studies conducted within a multi-partner innovation project, this article aims to theoretically explain why the identification of applications from emerging technologies is not a trivial problem. That research analyses how technologists and non-experts interact during creative investigations on new applications. It shows that the technologists are victims of a form of cognitive fixation effect. Indeed, their beliefs and activities are guided by a stable cognitive representation of their technology: the presumed identity of technology. Based on a recent design framework, C-K Design Theory, the technological exploration process followed in our four case-studies is modeled and mechanisms to dismantle the presumed identity and to design an extended identity of technology are provided.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Gillier & Gérald Piat, 2011. "Exploring over the Presumed Identity of Emerging Technology," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00641765, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:gemptp:hal-00641765
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8691.2011.00614.x
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00641765
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
    2. Griffin, Abbie. & Hauser, John R. & Griffin, Abbie, 1994. "Integrating R&D and marketing : a review and analysis of the literature," Working papers #112-94. Working paper (S, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    3. Glen L. Urban & Eric von Hippel, 1988. "Lead User Analyses for the Development of New Industrial Products," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(5), pages 569-582, May.
    4. Segrestin, Blanche, 2005. "Partnering to explore: The Renault-Nissan Alliance as a forerunner of new cooperative patterns," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 657-672, June.
    5. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-1171, September.
    6. Stefan H. Thomke, 1998. "Managing Experimentation in the Design of New Products," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(6), pages 743-762, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Claude Boldrini & Nathalie Schieb-Bienfait, 2015. "Collectively exploring the potential of technology derived from university research: the NanoMem case," Working Papers hal-01208517, HAL.
    2. Armand Hatchuel, 2013. "Deconstructing meaning: Industrial design as Adornment and Wit," Post-Print hal-00903421, HAL.
    3. Kokshagina, Olga & Gillier, Thomas & Cogez, Patrick & Le Masson, Pascal & Weil, Benoit, 2017. "Using innovation contests to promote the development of generic technologies," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 152-164.
    4. Fabien Jean & Pascal Le Masson & Benoit Weil, 2014. "Convince me or commit me? Avoid the cognitive trap induced by Non-Human Actors in early stages of NPD," Post-Print hal-00976059, HAL.
    5. Fabien Jean & Pascal Le Masson & Benoit Weil, 2015. "Engage engineers as designers to generate new meanings in concept generation," Post-Print hal-01148387, HAL.
    6. Olga Kokshagina & Pascal Le Masson & Benoit Weil, 2015. "Portfolio management in double unknown situations: technological platformsand the role of cross-application managers," Post-Print hal-01199929, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    management of emerging technology; technological exploration; identity of technology; C-K Design Theory; presumed identity; technology-push; technological innovation;

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