technological developments - which may present either a threat to the
enterprise, or a groundbreaking new opportunity - as early as possible.
technologies are being developed at a dizzying pace. Worldwide, private
enterprises, academic researchers, and open-source hackers are all
constantly pushing the envelope, developing new approaches and tools.
Some of these advancements may represent a huge threat to your
organization, perhaps by enabling a competitor to cannibalize your
existing business model with a much less expensive alternative. Others
may represent an opportunity to break new ground with products, product
features, or services that can represent sizable new revenue streams. It
is advantageous to identify these advances as soon as possible, in order
to out maneuver the competition and take maximum advantage of new
Downes and Mui point out in their book
Unleashing the Killer App,
this kind of awareness requires a technology radar consisting of a fat
pipeline, a sensitive radar screen and sophisticated intelligence.
MegaCorp, developers of the market leading Flozzit product, leaders are
constantly jousting with rival HyperCorp, each striving to release the
most advanced product in order to steal customers from the other.
Recently, HyperCorp has released a multiple new versions with features
that no one at MegaCorp had considered, or believed possible at the
time. After the most recent release, MegaCorp leaders dug in and
discovered that HyperCorp had integrated advanced technology developed
by researchers at Miskatonic University. “Why,” asked MegaCorp CEO
Howard Phillips, “did we not know about this sooner? This is actually a
better fit for our product.. if we had done this first, we could have
taken a huge chunk of HyperCorp’s market share, instead of letting them
jump further in front of us” No one had an answer.
order to address this lack of awareness of emerging technologies,
MegaCorp decide to implement a Technology Radar. An “emerging
technologies” channel is created, where every member of the organization
can submit links to documents, articles and news-feeds that touch on
technologies related to MegaCorp’s industry. Users throughout the
organization vote, tag and comment on each submission, allowing the
collective intelligence of the organization to filter the less important
items, while pushing the key ones to the top. Product Managers and
executives begin to make browsing the latest ‘top items’ on the channel
a routine habit... and some users configure the system to send them a
dynamic alert via instant messaging when an entry reaches a certain
few months later, the Flozzit Product Manager receives such an instant
message... the link is to an article published by Arkham University,
announcing the development of a new algorithm which solves a problem
that MegaCorp engineers have been struggling with. AU has released the
source code under a permissive open-source license, and MegaCorp begin
integrating the new approach, and also recruit two of the students from
AU who worked on the project.
the new technology, MegaCorp are able to deliver a new release of
Flozzit with several features which they believe that HyperCorp cannot
match. Amazingly, the new HyperCorp release comes out six weekslater,
and is almost totally equivalent to the new Flozzit.
Phillips talks to his mangers and explains why he’s happy with
developments; “We weren’t able to leap-frog them this time... but if we
hadn’t rolled that new stuff out when we did, their new release would
have been a dagger into our heart. Now we’ve shown them, and the
market, that they aren’t always the ones on the forefront of technical
advancements. And the two new guys we hired from Arkham are already
hard at work on some stuff that’s going to blow everybody away.”
culture which fosters a “Not Invented Here” syndrome.
of incentives for participation in the system.
of belief in the utility of the system.
of participation in the system by executives and other decision makers.
awareness of technological advances which are significant to the
to gain early mover advantage over competitors by incorporating advances
risk of being one-upped by the competition with a significant technical
links to web-sites, documents and other items of interest
links by topics using channels
links with specific keyword
items by voting them “up” or “down”
and filter by topic, keyword, and/or score
view by various statistical measures, such as “all-time score”,
alerting, via email, instant messaging, etc., when items reach certain
Use Scenarios and Guidance:
technology radar is established to pull in information from many
feeds, Twitter streams, email lists, and user submitted links to
articles. Collaborative filtering through collective intelligence is
used to filter the
value submissions, while ensuring the relevant information gains
through the organization view the radar, through the “emerging
and take advantage of the information.
some cases this may represent a “bottom up” scenario, such as an
engineer finding an interesting new library which enables a feature the
engineer likes... he quickly knocks out a prototype, shows it to senior
management, and it is eventually adopted into a product release. In
another case, this may be a “top down” scenario, where a senior leader
discovers a new technology, and issues a mandate that R&D
investigate it’s applicability to their product.
Labs “Project Shelley”
corporate knowledge repositories (blog servers, forums software,
systems, HR management systems, etc.)
Data Warehouses / Databases / Knowledgebases
information sources (web pages, databases, etc.)
Shelley can easily integrate any knowledge source which can be accessed
and which exists in a format which can be parsed into text tokens for
Where text extraction is not possible, location through metadata is
still possible (ex, mp3 audio files, video, etc).
feeds, HTTP, OpenSearch