Accelerating Innovation and the New Technology Boom

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Accelerating Innovation and the New Technology Boom

This trend is the second installation in a multi-part series dealing with systematic innovation and new technologies, as well as the business models to which they are giving rise. Part One appeared in Trends last month under the title "A New Golden Age...When People Least Expect It."1

In that discussion, the Trends editors explained that we are at the turning point in the latest of the half-century techno-economic waves that have repeatedly destroyed industries based on old technologies and created new industries based on new technologies. Each of these waves consists of three phases:2

  • Installation — when an initial boom leads to a bursting bubble.
  • Transition — a period of disappointment when the assets of the bubble are revalued.
  • Deployment — when the dominant technology matures and becomes the foundation for everything else in the economy.

We reviewed each of the four prior waves. Then we examined the Installation phase of the current wave, based on digital technology. Finally, we talked generally about what would drive the Deployment phase of the current cycle and result in a long, sustainable boom. However, Part One stopped short of discussing specific technologies and markets.

This month, Trends presents Part Two of this series, addressing those actual technologies and markets. The intention is to highlight a broad spectrum of emerging industry opportunities that offer enormous opportunities in the coming decade and underpin our broader optimistic outlook. Among those, four industries offer such enormous potential that we've chosen to examine them in the context of their own trends later in the issue:

  • Mobile applications
  • Automated language translation
  • Personalized medicine
  • Neuromarketing

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At the heart of this whole discussion is the matter of innovation. As the Trends editors have previously demonstrated, innovation has actually been accelerating over the past decade.

This point was recently driven home in an MIT Technology Review3 article by Steve Jurvetson — and he should know as well as anyone. Wired magazine named him "the world's number one most influential geek," and he is the managing partner of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson...

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