Misconceptions of Technology and World Change

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Written and compiled by Karishma Krishnan

Misconceptions of Technology and World Change

The following are some popular and established yet (I believe) untrue opinions about the subject of Technology and World Change, along with my reasons for disagreeing:

1. In Technology and World Change class, you learn to (radically) innovate. This is not true. TWC is not a module designed to teach students to innovate per se and turn them all into successful innovators by the end of the semester. Rather, it teaches students about innovations, the types of innovation, the many facets and stages involved in the process of innovation, how to categorise innovations, what to keep in mind while innovating and how to go about it. It teaches students about what challenges to expect as entrepreneurs, how to face these challenges and what direction to proceed in. One of the most important lessons taught in TWC is why some innovations succeed, while others fail.

2. The iPod is a radical invention. Firstly, it is innovations that are radical or otherwise, not inventions. That said, the iPod is not a radical innovation. It is simply an MP3 player with a twist - a clickwheel and an excellent marketing strategy - an incremental innovation. Christensen (1997) defines incremental innovation as 'a change that builds on a firm's expertise in component technology within an established architecture'; this holds true for the iPod. Apple and Steve Jobs' unique and hugely successful marketing strategy, which involves a lot of hype and fanfare about a product yet to be launched, has made it the forerunner in the MP3 player market with the iPod just being an improvement of the many other players in the market (the Creative Zen, Sony Walkman etc.).

3. Only radical inventions are successful and worthy of commercialisation. Definitely not. While radical innovations do tend impact society rather strongly, other types of innovation have also been largely successful. The Sony Walkman was one...
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