Technology is the key to our growth, but with it comes many risks. Below, Roman Boutellier and Mareike Heinzen explain that routinised technological innovations are, in the main, enough for many companies and can lead to even bigger waves of innovation. They provide managers with eight innovation principles for managing their innovations in technology-driven enterprises.
Technology for Good and for Bad
On September 11, 2001 the world changed: Technology is the key to our wealth, but it also makes us vulnerable. Thanks to technology we now live much better lives than our ancestors did, yet others may interrupt our comfortable life with exactly the same technology. Even world powers have changed or adapted their policies because of the emergence of new technologies. Many old technologies survive thanks to military interventions: The First Gulf War supported the survival of the dominant car engine, the Otto-Engine – a dual good that has served both civilians and military for decades.
Einstein intervened with president Roosevelt to start the atomic bomb, but later warned of the dangers of an uncontrolled use of nuclear same technology. Today, after the disaster of Fukushima, some nations have decided to give up nuclear power for good. Other markets, like China, continue to use it and are convinced that the positive aspects far outweigh the negative side effects. Management has to cope with these differences.
New technologies have simplified our lives with many dreams “just a mouse click away”. The Internet speeded up world trade and business, but it has also increased competition. Information is accessible everywhere. Smartphones and laptops make us available anywhere and anytime, privacy has become a luxury. Lifestyle habits have changed drastically. Our working life interacts more and more with our free time. Thus, technology has also led to deteriorating health, psychological problems and stress in companies. There are losers, not only winners. Whenever technology changes very fast, new jobs are created but old jobs also disappear, and not everyone can be retrained fast enough.