Developing a technology or innovation to the point where it might have commercial viability is a process in and of itself. Building a corresponding business case around that specific technology or innovation is a completely separate and independent process. Within the world of innovation-based economic development, I often refer to these dynamics as “the two ladders.” The progression starts at the bottom and moves upward toward a specific destination – an evolution.
Technology advancement is sometimes best evaluated against what are commonly known as “Technology Readiness Levels” – a scale that starts with a technology concept or application being formulated; moving toward validation in a laboratory; moving toward a prototype that is in turn validated in a lab and then in a relevant environment; to a fully functional system or successful incorporation of the technology in an operational setting. The process may take several years or only a couple of weeks but development toward a specific series of goals is the focus. [Read more…]