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Why does the diffusion of innovation take so long?

The diffusion of innovation can take up to 10 years. Why is industry so slow to catch up on new technology? Why is there such a gap between what science knows, and what business does? Why don't I see technology presented in TED Talks from before 2005 in the market today? Why is 10 year old research/knowledge/technology still "news" to people in the industry? How can we speed up the diffusion of innovation?


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    Jun 21 2011: But is it really bad that innovation takes "so long" to diffuse? I don't think so.

    Nature's "inventions" can take thousands, even millions of years to diffuse. But then, they're entirely foolproof, brilliant, certain and very useful breakthroughs. Not so with fast-diffusing human "innovation". Precisely, perhaps, because it spreads so fast.

    And then, what's innovation really? The jump from writing on paper to using computers: yes. That took a few thousand years. Jumping from iPhone 3 to 4? No.

    Please, let the big breakthroughs and paradigm-shifts follow each other up slowly, so we can all adapt to them. We don't want a Kurzweilesque singularity, do we?

    Also, I'm not a venture capitalist. For those people, speed may be important. They thrive on rapidly changing markets; often on superficial "innovation". For the rest of us, I think, we all welcome things to go a bit more relaxed.
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      Jun 21 2011: But isn't 10 years to thoroughly research and 10 years to completely implement, say, the transition to LED lightbulbs a bit too long? The EU recently decided that all motor vehicles in big cities must run on non-fossil fuel by 2050. And half "already" by 2030. Still, 40 years to transition to a better fuel for cars?
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        Jun 27 2011: Specifically in regards to LED lightbulbs... the price may be an issue for many. A lot of people live from paycheck to paycheck. Once the price of the product matches what people are willing/able to invest for the longterm savings purpose, the product will find a bigger consumer base.
    • Jun 24 2011: Kurzweil's theory does not suggest that we mannually increase the pace of development, he's simply stating that the speed of technology/biological evolution has been increasing, no one seems to find evidence that this will stop, so he proposes that this will continue to happen.

      I think, we can possibly surpress this evolution but technology will unlock so much possibility it will be hard to resist, so many people will choose to adapt. After this point, it works very similar to natrual selection, if the adaptation proves more potent, these people will secure a higher chance of survival, the resisting group will become smaller and smaller, eventually be filtered out.

      - Ding

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