Technology and World Change

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Melody is your classmate who will be attending the “twc” course next semester. She is all excited about the class, “finally, I will learn to create a radical invention like the iPod. Only radical inventions are successful and worthy of commercialization. I can then make lots of money along the way and become rich.” Do you agree with this comment? Which part do you agree with and which don’t you? Why and why not? Give examples to support ur ans.

First of all, the iPod is not a radical innovation. It is an architectural innovation, which means that it uses technology that was already present in the market, but in a different working system. Radical innovations are those that have a whole new design and use new concepts/components in a unique way. The ipod used the concepts found in other firms’ works like HTC, Samsung, etc, to build the iPod. Its interactive user interface and good marketing account for its popularity despite being an architectural innovation.

Secondly, I do not agree with Melody that only radical inventions are successful. Other types of inventions are very successful, currently. Presently, most of the innovations and products out there are not radical innovations. An example of a successful architectural innovation is the washing machine. First, after the washing machine was diffused into the market, the incremental innovations were regarding the speed of the drying time of the washing machine, which resulted in higher number of spins. However, this gave way to washer and spinner combined in a single drum. Despite being just an architectural innovation, it is highly successful today; many of today’s washing machines employ this technology.

With radical innovation, our entire lives could be changed. Hence, incumbent firms selling the current technology may not want to be displaced due to a new radical innovation. Hence the successfulness of radical innovations may be limited. Furthermore, the market has to be ready for a radical...
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