The Iteration Paradox

There is a situation emerging in technology where the time to put an innovation out to market is longer than the time it takes to develop the next advance of the tech. This has bred a new culture of innovation where products and services need to be developed in anticipation of the next evolution of a technology and not in response to it. Some curious implications fall out of this.

Classically there are examples of companies with market dominance trying to stifle innovation. We see this in everything from manufacturing all the way through biomedical innovation. It can be as simple and innocent as firms not being willing to put their winnings back into the R&D pipeline or as insidious as drug companies stifling progress to defend profit sources.

The race to market is starting earlier and earlier but there are some places where caution still needs to be exercised. Safety can be compromised when a rush to market occurs. Some companies iterate for safety very well, with systems in place to collect and analyze vast amounts of data such as the case with self driving (or driving assist) programs. TESLA does this very well where they run a test system in tandem with their operating system and test in real time.

A wild inevitability of this will be personal health support systems. Where our bodies systems will be monitored in real time and things like allergies and adverse reactions to certain medicines and foods will be tested on a replicative system before consumption.

This is going to start developing in manufacturing as well where systems are going to necessitate a flexible/modular design that will be able to evolve with the pace of advancement much like software systems do now. Imagine a smartphone that can upgrade its physical design and hardware as easily as it absorbs software updates.

“The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”

-Timbuk 3

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