Varför kan teknik slå politik?

Artikeln “Varför kan teknik slå politik?”, skriven av mig, Mirko Ernkvist, Christofer Laurell och Jan Jörnmark är nu publicerad i Ekonomisk Debatt. Vi förklarar hur och varför nya företag inte bara kan ta överhanden i ett teknikskifte, utan också varför detta sker i de fall då även existerande institutioner talar för de etablerade aktörerna. Mogna företag saknar ofta incitament att förändra institutioner då de redan är anpassade till en given ordning, nya företag har å andra sidan inget att förlora. Att den nya tekniken ibland också kräver nya kompetenser talar för att teknik kan slå politik. Det skapas en vit fläck i vilken de nya aktörerna får växa ohämmat till en början, med hjälp av Moores lag och nätverkseffekter får de nya spelarna att försprång som blir svårt att ta igen.

Artikeln kan läsas här.

Best Paper Award at ISPIM Innovation Summit in Brisbane

Together with my co-author Christofer Laurell, we recevied the Knut Holt best paper award at ISPIM for our paper about Uber and the taxi industry. The article, which is titled “Analysing Uber in Social Media – disruptive technology or institutional disruption?” will be published next year in International Journal of Innovation Management. The abstract can be found below:

“Extant literature suggests that market disruptions take place because of two main reasons: technological disruption or institutional change. In view of these two alternative explanations, this paper aims to explore how the recent rise of the collaborative consumption platform Uber is perceived by consumers and whether this platform is primarily regarded as a technological innovation or as an institutional disruption. Drawing from a dataset of more than 6500 user-generated contents in social media, our findings suggest that Uber is not primarily perceived as a technological innovation, but rather as an institutional disruption.”

Is 3D Printing a Disruptive Innovation?

My work on 3D Printing and the Hearing aid industry is now published in the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change. The paper can be retrieved here. The abstract can be found below:

3D Printing technologies have received extensive attention in recent years, but empirical investigations of how this technology is used for manufacturing are still sparse. More knowledge is also needed regarding how 3D Printing affects the competitive dynamics between firms. This article explores how 3D Printing has been adopted for manufacturing and discusses under what conditions it might influence competition in different industries. Drawing upon data from the global hearing aid industry’s adoption of 3D Printing during the period 1989–2008, this paper describes some of the benefits of using the technology, while also pointing out challenges firms encounter in making this transition. The study shows that early adopters were exposed to more technological uncertainty related to choosing printers. All firms encountered operational challenges as 3D Printing required new skill sets, but the technology had little impact on the competitive dynamics of this industry. Drawing upon literature on technological discontinuities, platforms and ecosystems, the paper illustrates and explains why the technology was not disruptive and also discusses how these findings apply to other industries where 3D Printing is currently gaining momentum.

Full reference:
Sandström, C. (2015) The non-disruptive emergence of an Ecosystem for 3D Printing – Insights from the Hearing aid industry’s transition 1989-2008, Technological Forecasting & Social Change,doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2015.09.006.

Symmetric Assumptions in the theory of disruptive innovation

In December 2014, I published a paper together with Henrik Berglund and Mats Magnusson, discussing the theoretical assumptions underpinning current theory theory on disruptive innovation. The paper can be read here, below an abstract:

The literature on disruptive innovation has convincingly explained why many established firms encounter problems under conditions of discontinuous change. Incumbents fail to invest in new technologies that are not demanded by their existing customers. This argument is grounded in resource dependency theory and the associated assumption that existing customers control a firm’s internal resource allocation processes. While the problem of disruptive innovation has been convincingly explained, there is still a need for managerial solutions. We argue that a key reason why such solutions are lacking can be found in the asymmetric assumptions made in the original theory of disruptive innovation. Specifically, we identify two related forms of asymmetry. First, the focal (incumbent) firm is treated as a collection of heterogeneous actors with different preferences, incentives and competencies, whereas firms in the surrounding environment are treated as if they contained no such heterogeneity. Second, the theory of disruptive innovation describes incumbents as controlled by their environment, but has failed to recognize that the environment can also be influenced. In this paper we argue that a more symmetric theory of disruptive innovation – i.e. one that treats all similar entities in the same way – opens up for a range of interesting managerial solutions.