Washington Technology: Disruptive Technologies
Jan 29, 2003, 10:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joab Jackson)
"Marconi's wireless invention represents what some historians
call 'disruptive technologies.' These are technologies--the
internal combustion engine, transistors and the Web browser, for
example--that not only create new industries, but eventually change
"Disruptive technologies often come from outside the mainstream.
The light bulb was not invented by the candle industry looking to
improve output. Owners of established technologies tend to focus on
making incremental improvements to their own products, avoiding the
potential threat to their own businesses.
"Systems integrators, which profit by bringing innovation to
their customers, must keep track of movements outside established
markets. Something such as the personal computer or the Internet is
always just around the corner.
"Two potentially disruptive technologies watched closely by
integrators today are open-source software and nanotechnology. Each
holds the promise of radically changing the landscape of