Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by ...
Really interesting treatment of technology landscapes. I wonder if the use of Wardley maps might help with both the dynamic nature over time as well as decomposing the technologies into value streams. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wardley_map
And don't apologise!
Often we approach this from a technology first perspective. In reality it is often about the use case, the value the technology brings and what it requires to realize the benefit. Increasingly a discrete technology alone will not convey a strategic advantage. Instead there is is integration, time to market, market capture and various other considerations. The best technology rarely wins - it is all about the execution.
If we take the use case or challenge based approach it is often clearer which technologies will be needed along with what supporting infrastructure and services to realize that vision.
Take constants for humanity:
- Social of which communication is a subset/enabler
We are then able to tease our the requirements / benefits that various technologies will win. We can then evaluate if these gains are sufficient to justify the definition of strategic advantage.
Thank you for a thought-provoking article. Both the strategic table top and network representations made me think of 'fitness landscapes' used to visualise evolutionary adaptation. 'Fitness' is represented by the 'height' of the landscape, giving you the topography you highlighted. Is this what you had in mind? From a technology perspective some configurations will become more "desirable; feasible; viable" (i.e. move higher), others more costly or less desirable, etc. (i.e. move lower). Interestingly Cynefin/David Snowdon use fitness landscapes to model narrative and sentiment (stories/language). Suggests a way to blend in confidence, risk appetite, etc. as additional factors that will influence the technology development process and competitive advantage.
A great starter for ten for debate! I too am interested in digging below to the 'what?' and 'how?'. I like both your metaphors, the networks one in particular. I think getting away from sector-silos to leveraging tech from one sector to another is useful. My build is that there are so many dimensions to explore, it needs filtering through different lenses, from broad unfiltered horizon scanning, thinking about TRL, market readiness, use cases, what others are doing in that tech space, and the approach needed (own, adopt, collaboration etc) - then make some strategic choices based on three criteria: desirable; feasible; viable? Then create a strategic portfolio balanced across different time horizons, risks, affordability, and skills advantage. That needs to feed into long term skills pipelines so we have the people we need with the knowledge, experience and career pathways.
I'm sure @swardley would be most interested in this!
Start here https://medium.com/wardleymaps/on-being-lost-2ef5f05eb1ec