Whiskey tango foxtrot: Technological convergence?
Wisdom of the crowds, Technological capabilities and Functional alignment, which when recognised and utilised in innovation processes, can unlock the ability to source, develop and commercialise ideas at rapid pace. The phenomenon is known as technological convergence. By definition, technological convergence is described as the process by which Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) converge towards new and more unified markets. This convergence often leverages the three dimensions of innovation – economic, technical and functional. On the economic side, the focus of a focal firm is on maximising profits with minimal costs under resource constraints brought about in-part by liberalisation of markets. In this regard, open innovation which involves harnessing wisdom of the crowds at the fuzzy front-end of the innovation process has increasingly been promoted as a pragmatic mechanism for accessing widely distributed knowledge (Thanasopon, Papdopoulos & Vidgen, 2016), in large firms (Brunswicker & Chesbrough, 2018) and SMEs (Vanhaverbeke, Frattini, Roijakkers & Usman, 2018). On the technical side, the main driver has been the rise of enabling technologies, at times revolutioning social behaviour but mostly brought about through incremental shifts in technical abilities. Finally, convergence is realised through functional alignment, characterised by integration of computational, behaviour and communication factors in a unique value-proposition delivered through new product or new service (Canals, Torres & Borés, 2001). The growing prominence of technological convergence means firms can no longer afford to work in silos or rely on proprietory waterfall solutions to achieve competitive advantage and influence societal progress. Here, we build on our July 2018 editorial which emphasised the cumulative importance of management research and management practice working together for societal progress. W-T-F is offered here as the fundamental trilogy that both managers and researchers need to address to survive and thrive in an increasingly digitised and globally connected world.