Typical Disruptive Technologies

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Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Typical Disruptive Technologies

It is important that business and policy leaders understand which technologies might matter to them and prepare accordingly. But which technologies could drive truly massive economic transformations and disruptions in the coming years? McKinsey recently established a really good list of 12 disruptive technologies (obviously, some items may be more or less relevant to your own firm):
1. Mobile Internet - Increasingly inexpensive and capable mobile computing devices and Internet connectivity.
2. Automation of knowledge work - Intelligent software systems that can perform knowledge work tasks involving unstructured commands and subtle judgments.
3. The Internet of Things - Networks of low-cost sensors and actuators for data collection, monitoring, decision making, and process optimization.
4. Cloud technology - Use of computer hardware and software resources delivered over a network or the Internet, often as a service.
5. Advanced robotics - Increasingly capable robots with enhanced senses, dexterity, and intelligence used to automate tasks or augment humans.
6. Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles - Vehicles that can navigate and operate with reduced or no human intervention.
7. Next-generation genomics - Fast, low-cost gene sequencing, advanced big data analytics and synthetic biology (“writing” DNA).
8. Energy storage - Devices or systems that store energy for later use, including batteries.
9. 3D printing - Additive manufacturing techniques to create objects by printing layers of material based on digital models.
10. Advanced materials - Materials designed to have superior characteristics (e.g., strength, weight, conductivity) or functionality
11. Advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery - Exploration and recovery techniques that make extraction of unconventional oil and gas economical
12. Renewable energy - Generation of electricity from renewable sources with reduced harmful climate impact
Source: James Manyika, Michael Chui, Jacques Bughin, Richard Dobbs, Peter Bisson, and Alex Marrs: Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy, McKinsey Global Institute analysis, May 2013

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