Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Technological Convergence?

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Anne-Laure Mention
João José Pinto Ferreira
Marko Torkkeli


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. (...)

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Author Biography

João José Pinto Ferreira, Faculdade de Engenharia - Universidade do Porto / INESC TEC

Born in 1964, João José Pinto Ferreira got is Licenciatura in Electrical Engineering and Computers at Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto (FEUP) in1987; MSc Electrical Engineering and Computers at FEUP in 1991; PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computers at FEUP in 1995; Habilitation (“Agregação”) in Industrial Engineering and Management in April, 2011. Positions Held: 1987-1995, FEUP, Assistant Lecturer; 1995 – 2003: FEUP, Assistant Professor; 2003-today: FEUP, Associate Professor. At FEUP (1997-2000) also he was Member of the Executive Board of the Electrical Engineering Department and since 2004 Director of the Master Degree of Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship. From October 2004 to July 2007 assumed a joint coordination of INESC Porto Unit of Information and Communication Systems. In January 2008 moved to the newly created Department in FEUP, “Industrial Engineering and Management Department”. Responsible since March 2007 for the pre-incubation activities at UPTec (U.Porto business incubator), where, since Sep/2008, he has been coordinating the STARTUP Program from Junior Achievement at U.Porto. Teaching Activities: Professor at FEUP in Information Systems and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Research Activity: in 1988 starts his collaboration as researcher at Institute of Engineering Systems and Computers (INESC). His R&D activity, developed 1st at INESC and later at INESC Porto, started in 1988 and concentrated in areas such as: Enterprise Integration, supporting Architectures and Life-cycle. Executable Models. Enterprise Modeling. João José is member of Portuguese Engineers Society, of the IFIP WG5.12, Working Group on Architectures for Enterprise Integration and Expert to the Comité Européen de Normalisation, CEN / TC 310 / WG1, Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Systems Architecture. Along with his R&D activity he assumed different roles in several R&D european projects: Participation as work-package leader and project leader in ESPRIT 5478 SHOP-CONTROL as workpackage leader in ESPRIT 8865 Real-I-CIM, as expert in ESPRIT 9245 PASSE, as work-package leader in ESPRIT 20544 X-CITTIC. Participation as Project Coordinator and Technical Manager of COBIP UR 4002 - SECTOR 6 do TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS PROGRAMME (Jan98/Dec/99). Project; Project Coordinator and Technical Manager of the DAMASCOS project IST-1999-11850 (Jan2000/Dec2001). Technical Coordinator the European projects B-MAN and MyFashion.eu (Apr2002/Set2004). Publications: João José has so far published more than 60 scientific publications, including Journals, Conferences, book chapters with peer review. He was also Guest Editor at the International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing and editor of a book published by Kluwer Academic Publisher entitled: “e-Manufacturing: Business Paradigms and Supporting Technologies" (Hardcover) ISBN-10: 1402076541. He has so far been responsible for the supervision of several PhD’s and MSc’s. Business Roles: General Assembly President of Tomorrow Options Microelectronics S.A. since March 2007. General Assembly Secretary of “Projecto Construir - Projecto de intervenção Social” since October 2009.