Disruptive Technology

2 09 2004

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Christensen’s concept of “disruptive technologies” has popped up two times during the last week. The first time was in my session at the EASST/4S conference. The second time was in this blog post on too many topics….

From a first look into the concept it seems to be a Schumpeterian concept to analyze the market effects of technology, and Christensen has used it to analyze technologies for distance education. The concept focuses on how companies (or universities) can steal market share from each other utilizing new technologies “to compete in a new way in new markets.”

The problem of this concept from my point of view is how it does not address issues related to the social aspects of technology. Rather it focuses on the adaption of technology on a large scale – leaving the effects of the technology out of the discussion. It becomes rather like looking at the spread of pollution without understanding the effects of the spread. It can be interesting, but it doesn’t tell you much about what is happening.

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