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Exploring over the Presumed Identity of Emerging Technology

Abstract : While scientists are stepping up their efforts to develop new technologies, the ability of firms to determine the value of their technologies by identifying potential applications has become a major challenge. This article focuses on a particular phase of technology development: the emergence phase. When a promising new technology first sees the light of day in a fundamental research laboratory, its target markets often seem plentiful but are ill-defined. The inability to produce prototypes or to identify potential users makes it difficult to explore potential commercial applications. On the basis of four micro-nanotechnologies case-studies conducted within a multi-partner innovation project, this article aims to theoretically explain why the identification of applications from emerging technologies is not a trivial problem. That research analyses how technologists and non-experts interact during creative investigations on new applications. It shows that the technologists are victims of a form of cognitive fixation effect. Indeed, their beliefs and activities are guided by a stable cognitive representation of their technology: the presumed identity of technology. Based on a recent design framework, C-K Design Theory, the technological exploration process followed in our four case-studies is modeled and mechanisms to dismantle the presumed identity and to design an extended identity of technology are provided.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 3:42:30 PM
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Thomas Gillier, Gérald Piat. Exploring over the Presumed Identity of Emerging Technology. Creativity and Innovation Management, Wiley, 2011, 20 (4), pp.238-252. ⟨10.1111/j.1467-8691.2011.00614.x⟩. ⟨hal-00641765⟩

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