Technological Discontinuities: Jumping the S-curve

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Technological Discontinuities: Jumping the S-curve
Gary Wong, Consultant, Canada

I find S-Curves useful in explaining technological discontinuities.
Consider two S-Curves along a timeline, the existing one that has been in operation for sometime and a new one that is just beginning to emerge. The zone of interest is the "bubble" formed where the existing curve is on its downward slope and meets the new curve rising up.
Scrutinizing is watching the existing in decline and reading/hearing/observing what is emerging to take its place.
A recent example is the decline of the DVD industry due to the popularity of online movie streaming. The disruptive force here is technology, essentially the ability to move broadband data across the Internet. Netflix read the change and responded; Blockbuster Video didn't and died.
The key is knowing what should be on your "radar screen" and then tuning in the weak signals. Scrutinizing will lead to new mental models. We call this process: Jumping the S-curve.



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