The pattern of development and diffusion of breakthrough communication technologies

J. Roland Ortt (Associate Professor in Technology Management, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at the Technical University Delft, Delft, The Netherlands)
Jan P.L. Schoormans (Professor in Consumer Research, Faculty of Design, Engineering and Production, at the Technical University Delft, Delft, The Netherlands)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Publication date: 1 December 2004

Abstract

Diffusion of many successful communication technologies, like telephony and television technology, follows an almost perfect S‐shaped curve. This curve implies that, after their introduction, subsequent sales of products on the basis of these technologies can be predicted accurately. However, the diffusion of other breakthroughs in communication technologies, like interactive television, videotelephony or broadband mobile communication technology, shows a more erratic pattern. Introduction of these technologies is often postponed or, once introduced, they are quickly withdrawn from the market after the first disappointing results. Rather than distinguishing alternative patterns, this article shows that the S‐shaped curve and the more erratic patterns represent subsequent phases in one pattern of development and diffusion of breakthrough communication technologies. Three phases are distinguished in this pattern. Managerial implications of the differences between these phases are discussed. the paper shows that a company trying to introduce a new communication technology has to adopt different strategies in each phase.

Keywords

Citation

Ortt, J. and Schoormans, J. (2004), "The pattern of development and diffusion of breakthrough communication technologies", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 292-302. https://doi.org/10.1108/14601060410565047

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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