Misconceptions about new Technologies

I work with new technologies in Software, and there seem to be a groundbreaking new technology every six months, while year-old technologies are already fading. Or are they? It usually takes 10-20 years for a technology to go mainstream (yes – that long!), as observed by well-known experts like Everett Rogers, who introduced Diffusion of…

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Ken Orr lists the following misconceptions about new technologies:

Myth: “Best possible” determines the choice of technology.
Reality: “Good enough” is the basis for choice.

Myth: Choice of technology results from rational analysis.
Reality: Choice is strongly influenced by convention and past practice.

Myth: Technology advances or discoveries usually are adopted eventually.
Reality: Most don’t succeed – and shouldn’t.

Myth: The biggest hurdle is making the original discovery – the downstream development is just a matter of applying the necessary effort.
Reality: Most of what is not yet known about a new discovery is probably bad and requires creativity to overcome.

Myth: Technological advances have intrinsic value.
Reality: The customer determines value.

Myth: Radically new advances will win.
Reality: New is not necessarily better.

Myth: The power of a new technology determines its success.
Reality: The infrastructure required to support it is often the determining factor.

Myth: Progress in technology comes principally from continuing to improve performance.
Reality: Progress requires establishing standards, imposing constraints, and achieving routine.

Myth: A new technology can be grafted onto an existing business.
Reality: The new product and the business system developed to produce it should be created together.