Five Myths of Technology Change


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This paper summarizes five myths of technology change and it replaces them with more accurate descriptions of reality. These myths are largely based on metaphors and anecdotal evidence that were presented decades ago and that have not been systematically re-examined. This paper summarizes the empirical research that proves these myths wrong and it describes how the more accurate descriptions of reality suggest more appropriate policies and strategies that are very different from the ones suggested by the myths.

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Five Myths of Technology Change

  1. 1. Five Myths of Technology Change by Jeffrey L. Funk Associate Professor National University of Singapore Division of Engineering and Technology Management Christopher L. Magee Professor of the Practice Massachusetts Institute of Technology Engineering Systems Division Jianxi Luo Assistant Professor Singapore University of Technology and Design
  2. 2. Five Myths of Technology Change Abstract This paper summarizes five myths of technology change and it replaces them with more accurate descriptions of reality. These myths are largely based on metaphors and anecdotal evidence that were presented decades ago and that have not been systematically re-examined. This paper summarizes the empirical research that proves these myths wrong and it describes how the more accurate descriptions of reality suggest more appropriate policies and strategies that are very different from the ones suggested by the myths.
  3. 3. 1. Introduction It is widely recognized that technology is the driving force behind improvements in economic productivity and standard of living as well as incumbent failure and new firm formation. Schumpeter focused on “creative destruction” and the ability of new technology-based industries to destroy existing ones and replace them with more productive ones. Robert Solow’s Nobel Prize winning research found that most of productivity growth comes from technical innovation. However, understanding technology change to the extent necessary to reap the full benefits from new technologies is still a major challenge. A major problem is that the most widely used models of technology change are largely based on myths, myths that distort the reality of technology change and mislead the choices available for government policies, and firm strategies. Our empirical research has identified five myths that impact strongly on how managers, policy makers, and university professors think about technology change: #1: Performance vs. time curves resemble an S-curve #2: Slowing rates of improvement in old technologies drive the development of new technologies #3: Product design changes drives performance increases and process design changes drives cost reductions, with product preceding process design changes in a technology’s life cycle. #4: Costs fall as cumulative production rises in a learning curve #5: All technologies have the potential for rapid rates of improvements These myths are largely based on metaphors and anecdotal evidence that were presented decades ago and that have not been systematically re-examined. The one exception is the learning curve, but even here the empirical evidence has been selective, ignoring the improvements that occur for most technologies before commercial production begins. This paper summarizes the empirical research that proves these myths wrong and it replaces these myths with much more accurate descriptions of reality. These more accurate descriptions of reality suggest more appropriate policies and strategies that are very different from the ones based on the myths.
  4. 4. 2. Myth #1: Performance vs. time curves resemble an S-curvei The S-curve (see left side of Figure 1) forms the basis for most models of technology change and it is taught in almost every business school and every technology management program in the world. In such an S-curve, following an initial low rate of improvement, the rate of improvement accelerates to a higher rate of improvement; later it slows. For the early part of the purported S- curve, the explanation is that improvements accelerate as firms and government agencies move research funds from an old to a new technology in response to increases in demand for the new technology or to a slowdown in the rate of improvement in the old technology. The acceleration may also occur as the technology is better understood by scientists and firms, constraints are overcome, and complementary technologies developed and implemented. The later part of the S- curve is explained by the rates of improvement slowing as the cost of marginal improvements increases, the number of useful inventions decreases, and natural limits emerge. Hypothetically, research funds then move to a newer technology and thus the newer technology’s rate of improvement begins to accelerateii . This myth encourages firms and governments to believe that rates of improvement will accelerate through small increases in demand or R&D funding. When one believes in this myth of accelerations, it is easy to be overly optimistic about breakthroughs and believe that new technologies are almost ready for the market because the rates of improvement will certainly accelerate as R&D projects are implemented and as demand increases. Proponents of new technologies often use this myth to promote their technologies and even social scientists have used this myth to promote specific technologiesiii . The reality of performance vs. time curves is very different from the myth of S-curves. Our empirical analysis of 25 different technologies, 32 unique measures of performance, and about 600 individual data points show that the performance vs. time curves do not match the predominant viewpoint of an S-curve. On a logarithmic plot, none of the 32 time-series curves display the classical S-curve. The second half of an S-curve, i.e., limits, is only evident in one technology, the best laboratory efficiency of amorphous silicon solar cells and the first half of an S-curve, i.e., acceleration, is also only evident in one technology, cellular telecommunications. Statistical analysis also suggests that rates of improvements are fairly constant over many years on a logarithmic plot and thus, performance vs. time curves more closely resemble a straight line on a logarithmic plot than an S-curve (See right side of Figure 1). A first-order logarithmic model
  5. 5. has high R-squared values (> 0.9) and low p values (<0.001) for 26 of the 32 performance vs. time curves. There are four R-squared values that are between 0.7~0.9 and one R-squared value at 0.54 and there is one p value at 0.014. Therefore, the first-order logarithmic model fits with the performance vs. time data with good statistical significance. That suggests exponentially growing performance of technologies, and a constant percentage rate of improvement each year. A major reason for the large difference between the myth and reality of performance vs. time curves is that there is a large gap between the myth and reality of technology change. The reality of technology change is incremental and cumulative R&D in which improvements build from past ones and the extensions to the knowledge base that these improvements bring. So-called breakthroughs in performance or cost do not really exist. Second, R&D is highly decentralized and it continues to become even more decentralized in the current world of open innovationiv . Thus, a few firms or funding agencies moving research funds from old to new technologies will not lead to accelerations. For the later period of new technologies, we do not deny that physical limits exist. However, our analysis suggests that these limits are much further in the future than is ordinarily thought, particularly if one chooses the right metrics. While efficiencies and other metrics with upper bounds impose natural limits on the technology, there are fewer limits when the metric is a performance per time, area, volume, or weight. For these types of metrics and the technologies we have studied, scientists and engineers often continue to find new ways to improve a technology for many decades, if not longer. 3. Myth #2: Slowing rate of improvement in old technology drives development of new technologyv A second myth is that slowdowns in the rates of improvement for old technologies lead to the development of new technologies and accelerations in the rates of improvements for these new technologies (See left side of Figure 2). This myth is derived from the myth of S-curves in which a slowdown in the S-curve for an old technology coincides with an acceleration in in the S-curve for a new technology thus suggesting that the slowdown is driving the acceleration. As noted previously, the purported reason is that slowdowns in the rates of improvement for old technologies cause R&D resources to move to new technologies thus enabling accelerations in the rates of improvement for the new technologiesvi .
  6. 6. This myth encourages decision makers to believe in a very centralized world in which changes in policy or strategy by a few firms or governments cause dramatic shifts from old to new technologies, and sometimes at the blink of an eye. According to this myth, changes in R&D funding and the resulting accelerations in the rates of improvement may cause the new winning technology to become unbeatable by other technologies. Furthermore, this myth encourages decision makers to focus on the rates of improvement for the old technologies and perhaps ignore new technologies until it is too late for them to succeed in the new technologies. Our empirical analysis of seven technology domains shows that slowdowns for old technologies don’t usually coincide with improvement in new technologies and when they do coincide, there are better explanations. We find that large numbers of new technologies are being simultaneously developed even as many of the old technologies are still experiencing relatively constant rates of improvement. For example, many new forms of lighting, displays, electricity generation, non- volatile memory, electronic devices, computing, and telecommunications were and still are being simultaneously improved even as many of the old ones were and are still experiencing improvements. Looking more closely at old technologies in these seven domains, we find only a few cases in which slowdowns occurred in the old technology as the newer ones were being improved. We found that 7 of the 15 old technologies had slower rates of improvement after performance data were recorded for a new technology but none of these changes in rates of improvement (i.e., slopes) were large and only two were statistically significant. Electricity from fossil fuels experienced a slowdown as nuclear power and solar cells were being improved. Even for these technologies, however, looking more closely at them, one can easily explain the timing of the new technologies with reasons (e.g., supply-side ones) other than slowdowns in the old technologies. The improvements in nuclear power followed closely the development of the atomic bomb, improvements in solar cells followed the development of the first silicon solar cell and the need for lightweight power source for satellites in the 1950s. In other words, slowdowns may have just happened to occur as the new technologies were being developed and improved. The reality is that a large variety of technologies are being developed even as an old technology experiences rapid rates of improvement (see right side of Figure 2). This is because in the decentralized world of R&D that was mentioned in the criticism of S-curves, independent researchers are always looking for something new. They are looking for something new because
  7. 7. they must find something new in order to publish papers and thus get promoted. Similarly, firms are looking for new technologies in order to differentiate their products and processes from existing ones. 4. Myth #3: Product design changes drives performance increases and process design changes drives cost reductions, with product preceding process design changes in a technology’s life cyclevii A third myth is that improvements in product performance and cost are driven by different mechanisms. Increases in functional performance are driven by changes in product design and cost reductions are driven by changes in process design. Product design changes and thus performance increases occur early in the technology’s lifecycle and process design changes and thus cost reduction occur later in the lifecycle (See the left side of Figure 3)viii . The product design changes include novel combinations of components, scaling, and combinatorial learning. The process design changes include learning by doing by workers on the factory floor, better process design and control, better automated manufacturing equipment, and organizational learningix . This myth makes it difficult for firm strategies and government policies to emphasize the proper mix and synthesis of product and process projects. It encourages decision makers to emphasize process improvements if they want lower costs or to emphasize product improvements if they want higher performance. This is particularly a problem with government and corporate R&D since these policy makers and managers must deal with many different technologies that cross multiple domains. For example, this myth has encouraged public organizations to focus on process improvements in their attempts to reduce the cost of electricity from solar cells or the cost of energy storage with batteries, whereas the major cost-related improvements have mostly come from intrinsic design changes of photovoltaic and battery technologies. Our empirical research finds that improvements in cost and performance simultaneously occur throughout most of the life cycle and they are driven by inter-related product and process innovations. Our statistical analysis of 23 different paired time series for cost and performance in different technologies shows that these improvements in cost and performance are highly correlated and thus being simultaneously implemented. The correlation coefficients exceed 0.9 for 18 of the 23 unique measures and only two of them fall below 0.5; the other three measures of performance fall between 0.5 and 0.9 with two of them at 0.895. Overall, the results show that
  8. 8. improvement in performance and improvements in cost/price are highly correlated and thus being simultaneously implemented. Our interpretation of these results is that firms and research organizations are implementing product and process innovations at the same time because the innovations are inter-related and because these inter-related innovations enable improvements in both performance and cost For example, consider integrated circuits (ICs); they have experienced rapid, yet constant improvements over the last 50 years through reductions in the size of transistors and memory cells and these reductions in size enable increases in the numbers of transistors and memory cells that can be placed on a single IC chip (i.e., Moore’s Law). Simply put, firms are reducing the feature sizes (i.e., product design) on an IC while at the same time making changes to the process in order to achieve these smaller feature sizes. Furthermore, the smaller feature sizes enable improvements in both performance (faster speeds, lower power consumption, higher functionality through more transistors) and lower costs (fewer materials and less equipment area per transistor). A second type of inter-related product and process design change can be found with new materials (i.e., product design changes) where the use of new materials requires new processes for their fabrication. For example, scientists and engineers create new forms of semiconductor materials that better exploit the phenomenon of electro-luminescence in an LED and that results in higher luminosity per Watt. The higher luminosity per Watt from the new material enables both higher performance (brighter light, lower power consumption, smaller size, faster switching) and lower cost (fewer materials and equipment per LED from smaller sizes). 5. Myth #4: Costs fall as cumulative production rises in a learning curvex A fourth myth is that costs fall as cumulative production increases in a so-called learning or experience curve (see left side of Figure 4). Although there is some evidence that costs fall as a single design is manufactured in a single factory, this observation has caused many to assume that factory level activities are driving the cost improvements even when new product designs are being introduced. According to this myth, costs fall as workers become better at tasks and firms introduce better work flows, process control, and automated manufacturing equipment, and promote organizational learningxi . This myth focuses firms and governments on commercial production as a means of achieving reductions in cost. It suggests that commercial production is essential for cost reductions (and
  9. 9. many argue for performance improvements). Even when the technology clearly involves new product designs, the link between increases in cumulative production and reductions in cost creates an illusion that most of the improvements are achieved on a factory floor and that these improvements can be hidden from other firm). This illusion, which was popularized by many consulting firms, bankrupted many companies that placed too much emphasis on achieving first mover advantages through early production. More recently this illusion has caused Western governments to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on subsidizing the installation of solar cells, wind turbines, and electric vehicles. Proponents of new technologies not surprisingly say that their technology will get cheaper once manufacturing begins, even though other factors have a larger impact on costs. In addition to the evidence presented in disproving the reliance of cost reductions on process improvements in Myth #3, we also analyzed 14 technologies that experienced rapid improvements of greater than 10% per year with little or no commercial production. These 14 are: organic LEDs, solar cells, and transistors; quantum dot displays and solar cells: Perovskite solar cells; superconducting cables and Josephson junctions; quantum computers, carbon nanotubes for transistors; ferroelectric, phase change, magnetic, resistive RAM. Commercial production was started for all 14 of the technologies long after improvements in cost and performance were recorded in engineering and science journals. Furthermore, all of the technologies have recent sales figures smaller than $1Billion and only printed electronics, which includes organic transistors, had a market size larger than $300 million. These results clearly demonstrate that learning in a factory is not a relevant mechanism for the rapid improvements in cost and performance These technologies experienced rapid reductions in cost through the types of inter-related product and process design changes that were discussed in the last section and most of the improvements were made at universities and to a lesser extent at startups or corporate laboratories in a system of open innovation. For example, reducing the scale of Josephson Junctions and new forms of memory cells enable higher densities of Josephson junctions and memory cells and this enables lower costs per area and often higher speeds since there is less distance for electrons to travel. Second, creating new materials that better exploit physical phenomena enables higher performance and lower cost. Scientists and engineers created organic materials that better exploited the phenomenon of electroluminescence for OLEDs, the photovoltaic phenomenon for solar cells, and the semiconducting phenomenon for transistors. They created semiconductor and
  10. 10. other materials that better exploited the phenomenon of quantum dots and other materials that better exploited superconductivity. We also note that many new systems only become economically feasible as their components reach specific levels of performance and cost and thus these systems are experiencing improvements before commercial production begins. This is particularly true of new electronic products in which more than 95% of the system costs involve the cost of components such as ICs and the performance of these ICs determine the performance of the system. Thus, improvements in the cost and performance of new systems are driven mostly by improvements in components. As the components experience improvements over time, new systems gradually becomes economically feasible for a first application and subsequently for a growing number of applications. This has been and continues to be true with many types of computers, mobile phones, eBook readers, and more complex systems such as wireline and wireless telecommunication systems. Disproving Myth #3 has important implications for firms and governments. First, things don’t need to be manufactured in large amounts in order to reduce costs. New materials can be created and reductions in the scale of devices can be achieved in research laboratories and both of these research activities are much cheaper than constructing large scale manufacturing facilities. Second, since we observe no great changes (either accelerations or decelerations) in improvement rates after commercial production begins, it is likely that the two mechanisms mentioned above – materials creation and reductions in scale – continue to drive improvements in cost and performance thus suggesting that factory level improvements play a much smaller role than is ordinarily thought. Third, the constant rates of improvement that we see for these technologies and for the larger sample that is referenced in the discussion of the first myth suggest that early rates of improvement provide a signal for the potential for a new technology. Rather than believe in the usual song and dance that a new technology will get cheaper once commercial production for the technology increases, managers and policy makers should expect technologies to experience improvements before commercial production begins. If improvements aren’t emerging, decision makers should question the long-term viability of the technology. 6. Myth #5: All Technologies have the Potential for Rapid Rates of Improvementsxii
  11. 11. A fifth myth is that all technologies have the same potential for rapid rates of improvements and thus strategies and policies determine the actual rates of improvements and the winning technologies. According to this myth, the extent to which firms and governments promote their technologies through early production, moving down the learning curve, and experiencing the acceleration in the rates of improvements that occur as the effects from demand and early production kick in, the faster the rates of improvement. In some sense, this myth builds from the other four myths. The myths of S-curves, slowdowns, cost reductions from process improvements, and learning in factories support the notion that all technologies have the potential for rapid rates of improvements. An acceleration in the rate of improvement occurs (Myth #1, S-curves) as demand and commercial production begin (Myth #3, cost reductions from process improvements and Myth #4, learning in factories) or as a slowdown in the rate of improvement in the old technology occurs (Myth #2, slowdowns). This acceleration causes the new technology to have a rapid rate of improvement and be commercially successful. The most damaging part of this fifth myth is that by removing the most important objective signal for a technology’s potential, its rate of improvement, it becomes difficult for managers and policy makers to make rational decisions about new technologies. This causes public and private debates about new technologies to revolve around what Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahnemanxiii calls “instinctive and emotional” thought. People tend to assess the relative importance of issues, including new technologies, by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media. For example, the media talks about solar, wind, battery-powered vehicles, and bio-fuels and thus many people think these technologies are experiencing rapid rates of improvement when many are not (e.g., wind, 2% a year; Li-ion batteries, 5%xiv ) in spite of the large improvements that are needed before they will become economically feasible. Our empirical analysis (along with the discussion of the other myths) suggests that rates of improvement vary dramatically across different technologies. Most technologies experience very slow rates of improvement, less than 5% per year. For example, one study of rates of improvement found that most materials, beverages, electrical appliances, and foods experienced improvements of much less than 5% per year over decades while some chemicals experienced slightly faster rates of improvement, but rarely reaching 10% a yearxv . One reason for the slow rates of improvement in electrical appliances is because they didn’t contain rapidly improving components. A reason for
  12. 12. the slow rates of improvement in the other technologies is that the chemical compositions for them are fixed and thus there are few opportunities for improvements through changes in product design. Table 1 summarizes technologies that are experiencing rapid rates of improvement (>10%). Most of the technologies listed in Table 1 are information related ones such as integrated circuits, MEMS, superconducting Josephson junctions, computers (both digital and quantum), magnetic storage, and wireline and wireless transmission that benefit from reductions in the scale of feature sizes or from improvements in ICs. Furthermore, many of the ones classified under energy transformation can also be considered information related technologies since it is data that is transformed from one type of energy to another (e.g., electrical to light or vice versa) rather than work being done. This includes various types of lighting, displays, and lasers (e.g., LEDs, OLEDs, GaAs lasers, LCDs, and quantum dot displays). Similarly DNA sequencers and synthesizers can be considered information-related technologies. Energy-related technologies that have rapid rates of improvement are limited to solar cells, superconducting cables, and cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol is the only technology in Table 1 whose reductions in cost are primarily driven by production. The technologies listed in Table 1 will probably have a greater impact on our world than will ones with slower rates of improvement. They are more likely to become economically feasible for a growing number of applications and/or to impact on the design of higher level systems than are technologies that experience slower rates of improvement. They will probably change the way we design our computer, telecommunication, transportation, environmental, energy, health care, and other systems. Understanding these technologies and their potential impact on new systems is important for firms looking for new opportunities. One goal for R&D managers is to look for technologies that are or will likely experience rapid rates of improvement. We have already noted that early rates of improvement are important signals since rates of improvement are fairly constant over time, both before and after commercial production begins. Second, we have already noted that certain types of improvements lead to rapid rates of improvements. Technologies such as ICs that benefit from reductions in feature size have experienced rapid rates of improvement as have technologies that benefit from the creation of new materials. Thus, one way to find technologies that have the potential for rapid rates of improvement is to look for technologies that benefit from reductions in scale or the creation of new materials and determine whether the degree to which these types of improvement are possible.
  13. 13. 7. Conclusions The five myths described in this paper have an enormous impact on how decision makers view technology change and how R&D is done and R&D decisions are made. This is particularly true for government or corporate R&D where decision makers must deal with many types of technologies that cross many technology domains, and they must make R&D investment decisions whose outcomes depend on rates of improvement. Few decision makers have the breadth and depth of knowledge to deal with multiple domains and this can cause the best of managers or policy makers to depend on the myths of technology change that are discussed in this paper. The worst case scenario is public debates about new technologies such as clean energy ones. Public debates on clean energy completely ignore rates of improvement and decision makers have easily fallen for the myths of technology change summarized in this paper and thus implemented policies that are often expensive and ineffective. The realities that are described in this paper suggest a world of technology change that requires decision makers to consider and evaluate many different technologies and rates of improvement, rather than make their decisions on the metaphor-based myths. Luckily, dispelling the myths greatly simplifies the world of decision makers. Without the myth of S-curves, decision makers can look for the constant rates of improvement that are to some extent predictable. Without the myth of slowdowns, we can focus on new technologies and their rates of improvement. Without the myth of commercial production driving cost reductions, early rates of improvement provide important signals for new technologies. Without the myth of product and process design changes, we can focus on specific types of inter-related design changes that enable rapid rates of improvement. In the end, effective R&D, particularly public R&D, is largely about finding those technologies that have the potential for rapid improvements.
  14. 14. Table 1 Technologies with Recent Rapid Rates of Improvement Technology Domain Sub-Technology Dimensions of measure Time Period Improvement Rate Per Year Energy Trans- formation Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Luminosity per Watt, red 1965-2005 16.8% Lumens per Dollar, white 2000-2010 40.5% Organic LEDs Luminosity/Watt, green 1987-2005 29% GaAs Lasers Power density 1987-2007 30% Cost/Watt 1987-2007 31% Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) Square meters per dollar 2001-2011 11.0% Quantum Dot Displays External Efficiency, red 1998-2009 36.0% Solar Cells Peak Watt Per Dollar 1977-2013 13.7% Efficiency, Organic 2001-2012 11.4% Efficiency, Quantum Dot 2010-2013 42.1% Efficiency, Perovskite 2009-2013 46.5% Energy Transmission Superconducting cables Current-length per dollar 2004-2010 115% Current x length – BSSCO 1987-2008 32.5% Current x length - YBCO 2002-2011 53.3% Information Trans- formation Microprocessor Integrated Circuits Number of transistors per chip 1971-2011 38% Power ICs Current Density 1993-2012 16.1% Camera chips Pixels per dollar 1983-2013 48.7% Light sensitivity 1986-2008 18% MEMS for Artificial Eye Number of Electrodes 2002-2013 45.6% MEMS Printing Drops per second 1985-2009 61% Organic Transistors Mobility 1984-2007 94% Single Walled 1/Purity 1999-2011 32.1%
  15. 15. Carbon Nano-tube Transistors Density 2006-2011 357% Super- conducting Josephson Junctions 1/Clock period 1990-2010 20.3% 1/Bit energy 1990-2010 19.8% Qubit Lifetimes 1999-2012 142% Number of bits/Qubit lifetime 2005-2013 137% Photonics Data Capacity per Chip 1983-2011 39.0% Computers Instructions per unit time 1947-2009 36% Instructions per kw-hour 1947-2009 52% Quantum Computers Number of Qubits 2002-2012 107% Sources: Funk J and Magee C. Exponential Change: What drives it? What does it tell us about the future? Time Performance Figure 1. Myth vs. Reality of Performance vs. Time Curves on Logarithmic Scale Slowdown and Limits Acceleration Time Performance (logarithmic scale) a. The Myth b. The Reality Note: limits exist but they are often further away than ordinarily thought
  16. 16. Time Performance Figure 2. Myth vs. Reality of Slowdowns Driving Improvements in New Technologies Slowdown Acceleration Time Performance (logarithmic Scale) a. The Myth b. The Reality Many technologies are simultaneously being developed in a very decentralized manner and their timing depends on supply-side factors FrequencyofInnovationandRateofImprovement Figure 3. Myth vs. Reality of Product and Process Innovations Product Innovation Process Innovation Time Increases in performance from product innovations Reductions in price from process innovations FrequencyofInnovationandRateofImprovement Increasing number of inter-related product and and process innovations Time a. The Myth b. The Reality Relatively constant rate of improvements in cost and performance
  17. 17. Cumulative Production (log scale) Costs (log scale) Figure 4. Myth vs. Reality of Cost Reductions (i.e., learning curve) Time Costs (log scale) a. The Myth b. The Reality Start of Commercial Production Time Performance Figure 5. Myth vs. Reality of Rates of Improvement Implement right strategies and policies to achieve acceleration and to make your technology the winning one Time Performance (logarithmic scale) a. The Myth b. The Reality Choose the technology with the potential for rapid improvements (there are many choices)
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  19. 19. technology! Should economic theory take notice? Industrial and Corporate Change 17(3): 513– 531. x This section is based on a paper entitled, “Rapid Improvements with Little or No Commercial Production: What Drives the Improvements?” xi (Wright, 1936, Arrow, 1962; Argote and Epple, 1990; Adler and Clark, 1991; Utterback, 1994; Lapre et al, 2000) xii This section is based on a paper entitled, “Thinking about the Future: Rapid Rates of Improvement and Economic Feasibility” xiii Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow, 2011 xiv Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. 2013. Tarascon, J. 2009. Batteries for Transportation Now and In the Future, presented at Energy 2050, Stockholm, Sweden, October 19-20. xv Nagy B, Farmer D, Bui Q, Trancik J 2013. Statistical Basis for Predicting Technological Progress. PLoS ONE 8(2): e52669. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052669NREL, 2013.