Disruptive Technologies

I've started reading The Innovator's Dilemma after seeing it recommended as a business-based perspective on technological change. Early on, the book has an example of how disruptive innovations are problematic for businesses because they change the business model--costing a great deal to develop and not being saleable to the same market, so they're neglected until it's too late and the old model starts to fail (the historical emergence of personal computers with mainframes vs. personal computers in the early days when some needs could be met by both). While I haven't finished the book (or the follow-up book), I started thinking of game-related innovations that could fit the same model and it seems like the multi-touch-sensitivity of the MacBook Air and the iPhone as well as the other types of user interfaces (Nintendo DS with sound, air and Nintendo Wii with movement) are the best current examples of what's to come (or at least the best examples related to my interests since narrative, complexity, personalization, procedurality, and many other areas are also developing rapidly).

Nintendo has always done a great job of marketing what could be disruptive innovations (albeit often initially as gimmicks) which has allowed them to explore innovation without the same degree of financial risk that disruptive innovations would otherwise create. The Wikipedia page on disruptive innovations includes a reference with a link to an article in Research Technology Management by Roger Smith on "The Disruptive Potential of Game Technologies: Lessons Learned from its Impact on the Military Simulation Industry". I thought it was interesting to see that business research has been studying games for how they impact other areas, and I'm looking forward to reading more of it. I'm especially interested because the massive amount of data that's already digital or going digital with proper structural content (or that can have it extracted) will require better visualizations and better interfaces. I'm hoping that the multi-touch interface research and expanded options from Apple and Nintendo are already making good progress toward the Iron Man (movie) style scientific IR-hologram-model-with multi-touch interfaces or the Minority Report visualized dimensional database because--like arguments over computer versus console games--there are places for the interface to be keyboard and mouse or game controller, but there's a lot more here and coming for which both are inadequate and for which my best working models are only from movies. Given the history of science fiction's impact on science, the projects I'm interested in are certainly in development, and it looks like business-related research may be a great source for more information on current projects and issues.

I agree

I know this was written awhile ago, but I had to respond. For awhile, I worked at a retail establishment that had touch screen monitors attached to regular PCs as it's POS system. During downtimes, we'd meander on the internet, use flickr, etc, all with this touch-screen. We stopped using the mice (for the most part) or the keyboards. When I came home from my job, I'd always jab my laptop's monitor, still in the mind-frame of the touch sensitive screen. The thing that struck me when watching my co-workers (and myself) with these screens, is how natural it was. Everyone picked up on it exceptionally quickly, no matter their age—18 year olds to 60 year olds all used it equally well.