What is Strategic, Sustainable Technology Disruption?
We define technology innovation as the creation of new, or novel application of existing, technologies irrespective of added value or benefit. Obviously, in an era of increasingly limited resources coupled with growing needs, profitability and novelty should not be sufficient criteria for innovation.
A disruptive technology innovation is one that has profound implications on a system. While disruption can occur anywhere, from a localized way to a global scale, the word generally has connotations of major change on a much larger scale. Examples of technology disruptions on a global scale include the role of social media on geopolitical events, and the pending transformation of transport and commerce through the ubiquitous use of autonomous vehicles.
Technology disruptions, by definition, can be either stabilizing or destabilizing. That is, they can serve to help address systemic challenges in ways that can never be achieved through incremental change, or they can introduce highly destabilizing forces into a system. As a result, we introduce the phrase, sustainable technology disruption, to focus attention on those innovations that lead to a more secure, equitable long-range future for society.
Finally, recognizing that we live a resource limited existence, there is a need to be strategic about what and how we develop and introduce sustainable technology disruptions. Everything in life, from the planet itself to human relationships are highly complex and non-linear. While certainly no one individual nor even a collective community has the wherewithal to anticipate all of the unintended consequences of an action, idea or disruptive technology innovation, it is incumbent upon us all to try.
-Dr. Tim Wei, Author
Timothy Wei, PhD
Dr. Wei is a visionary thought leader and change agent. With over thirty years of experience as a researcher, educator, higher education administrator and leader in government relations, he has broad experience and a wide network of innovators and researchers across industry and premier research universities. He has been building strategic public-private-partnerships around critical technology challenges facing society (including healthcare for a changing society, feeding a growing global population at the nexus of advanced manufacturing and food, 22nd century infrastructure for a world of autonomous vehicles and defense). As a former dean of engineering at two major research universities (with responsibility for ~$80M annual budgets and over 300 employees) and as Sr. Vice President for Public Affairs and Outreach at ASME, Tim has created communities at the interface of academia, industry and government. He has helped develop technology innovations and roadmaps for individual start-up companies, multi-national industry consortia and university technology R&D centers. At the same time, he has helped redirect complex under performing organizations pivot and achieve unprecedented growth and success.
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