Dominant designs and controversies are …

…similar in my opinion. But then I take a heterodox view of controversies. To me they’re not just about fishing quotas, airport runways, acceptable radiation levels or whatever. I’ve always thought that Bruno Latour’s controversy approach works perfectly well for emerging technologies too.

But I also fell in love at first sight with Utterback and Abernathy’s dominant design idea. « typezriter » – can’t do it on an azerty keyboard! But you could on a qwerty of course. I’ve read and reread that chapter on Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) – a lead user if ever there was one – in their book dozens of times. When the dozens of typewriter manufacturers who were in competition in the 1870s peaked and numbers fell, the dominant design had appeared. The one that embodied all the functions consumers would be happy with.

Now we may be seeing the same thing with driverless cars. The infrastructure investments are colossal. It needs massive government buy in. But there seem to be little tremors in the air. First there was the Google self driving car. Now there’s Prof Newman’s Oxford University team…and many others.

So we have a controversy and an emerging dominant design.

It’ll be fun to watch this (as a back seat driver of course)…



A propos markowskikrys

I run an advanced Masters programme on project management and innovation at ESIEE
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