Inderscience Publishers

Functional market concept for planning technological innovations

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Fundamental high-technology innovations radically change existing markets and quite often create entirely new ones. However, the opportunities these technologies offer as well as the potential threats they pose will be underestimated if certain mistakes in the identification and assessment of markets for such fundamental innovations are not avoided. One of these pitfalls can be the restricted focus on current customers and market segments only. For the specification of technologies and needs this "blinkered" perspective bears the danger of barring the view of the threats and possibilities emerging, in Drucker's words, "at the edges". A too-short-termed perception and narrow focus on mere figures and actual facts can also mislead decisions concerning fundamental high-tech innovation projects. The functional market concept presented here provides appropriate means of bypassing pitfalls of this kind. One possible way of doing this is by defining technologies and their markets strictly in terms of their functions and their problem-solving capabilities (thus "functional" markets). The use of such tools as technology portfolios, s-curve, and experience curves will lead to long-term dynamic perspectives.

Keywords: technology planning, disruptive technologies, functional market

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