Reading reflection II: Theories of Change

The readings by Rheingold and Christensen provided me with frameworks to identify key factors present in the evolution of technology in the marketplace, and I believe they can be used jointly to evaluate upcoming change, rather than viewing them as two separate approaches. The third reading (Stafford) was more of psychological approach to the process of technology adoption.

Although both Rheingold and Christensen use the telecommunication industry as a case study, I interpreted Rheingold’s application of Neil Postman’s “Ten Principles of Technology” to mobile phones, as model for why innovation and change happens in an industry segment. On the other hand, Christensen shows us a model of how to evaluate “what’s next”.

This is how I correlate Rheingold’s ten principles and Christensen’s theory:

Rheingold’s first two principles made me think of the theory of relativity applied to technology: Technology is not always beneficial to everybody and people react differently to it. This explains why opportunity for improvement is present when new technologies emerge. Then, one can relate Christensen’s customer groupings as the explanation of how to identify this relativity in technology. Also, Rheingold’s third principle of “powerful ideas” can serve as an approach to discover the opportunities for innovation in a given technology.

Both approaches can be used to analyze the dynamics of competition in an industry because Christensen deconstructs how competition works and what factors determine the winner, while Rheingold exposes (in the fourth principle) that the war between new and old technology is due to the demands of time, attention, money, prestige, etc. (why)

Reactions to New Technology
Rheingold’s fifth principle, “no technology is additive,” explains why firms cannot ignore new technology, and why they have an impact in the whole system –even if they don’t represent a threat right away. Christensen’s “strategic choices” theory can help us identify how to evaluate the firms’ reactions.

Non-market Factors
Christensen focuses on how to identify the factors that affect innovation including legislation, taxes, antitrust laws and price regulations. However, I believe that Rheingold’s biases (political, social and content) actually points to why governments interfere at certain times.