What is software innovation

how software platforms drive innovation and transform industries and what is innovation management software and How to measure innovation in software development
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Aalborg Universitet Software Innovation Rose, Jeremy Publication date: 2010 Document Version Publisher's PDF, also known as Version of record Link to publication from Aalborg University Citation for published version (APA): Rose, J. (2010). Software Innovation: Eight work-style heuristics for creative system developers. Aalborg: Software Innovation, Aalborg University. General rights Copyright and moral rights for the publications made accessible in the public portal are retained by the authors and/or other copyright owners and it is a condition of accessing publications that users recognise and abide by the legal requirements associated with these rights. ? Users may download and print one copy of any publication from the public portal for the purpose of private study or research. ? You may not further distribute the material or use it for any profit-making activity or commercial gain ? You may freely distribute the URL identifying the publication in the public portal ? Take down policy If you believe that this document breaches copyright please contact us at vbnaub.aau.dk providing details, and we will remove access to the work immediately and investigate your claim. Downloaded from vbn.aau.dk on: juli 14, 2017 Contents Introduction 11 WHY STUDY SOFTWARE INNOVATION? 11 The global perspective 11 The competition perspective 12 The developer perspective 13 KNOWLEDGE SOURCES FOR SOFTWARE INNOVATION 13 SOFTWARE INNOVATION - THE SHAPE OF THE STUDY 15 EIGHT WORK-STYLE HEURISTICS 15 INNOVATION CONCEPTS AND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT 16 Three basic starting places: creativity, invention, innovation 16 Radical and incremental innovation 17 Product and process innovation 18 Installed base (infrastructure) 18 Innovation and software systems 19 Sources and further reading: 19 1. Keep your head up: software trajectories and innovation windows 20 TECHNOLOGY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 20 INSTALLED BASE, INFRASTRUCTURE 22 SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY TRAJECTORIES 24 SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY CONVERGENCE 26 THE SOFTWARE INNOVATION WINDOW 27 WORK-STYLE HEURISTIC 1 - KEEP YOUR HEAD UP 29 Sources and further reading: 30 2. Grow your community: network, knowledge, learning 31 VIRTUAL INNOVATION COMMUNITY: THE OPEN SOURCE MOVEMENT 34 OPEN INNOVATION 36 WORK-STYLE HEURISTIC 2 - GROW YOUR KNOWLEDGE COMMUNITY 39 Sources and further reading: 40 6 3. Target the product’s innovation profile: innovative software 41 CHARACTERISTICS OF INNOVATIVE SOFTWARE PRODUCTS 41 UTILITY - HIERARCHIES OF TECHNICAL SYSTEMS 44 NOVELTY: LEVELS OF INNOVATION 45 INCREMENTAL AND RADICAL INNOVATION 46 UTILITY FORMS 47 Innovation utility form 1: computing infrastructural 48 Innovation utility form 2: technology enabling 49 Innovation utility form 3: user service 50 Innovation utility form 4: business change enabling 50 Innovation utility form 5: interaction and communication 51 Innovation utility form 6: entertainment 52 WORK-STYLE HEURISTIC 3 - TARGET YOUR PRODUCT’S INNOVATION PROFILE 53 Sources and further reading: 55 4. Shape your own process: software process and innovation 56 SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT METHOD – INNOVATION IS NOT A TYPICAL GOAL 56 LINEAR INNOVATION IN INDUSTRY 59 THE SOFTWARE INNOVATION LIFE CYCLE MODEL 61 ITERATIVE SOFTWARE INNOVATION PROCESS MODELS 61 DO AGILE METHODS PROMOTE INNOVATION? 63 MARKET-LED AND TECHNOLOGY-LED SOFTWARE INNOVATION 63 IMPROVISATION, BRICOLAGE 64 SIX INNOVATION PROCESS STRATEGIES 66 Innovation process strategy 1: creative requirements analysis67 Innovation process strategy 2: designed process framework 68 Innovation process strategy 3: low tech prototyping 69 Innovation process strategy 4: user-driven software innovation 71 Innovation process strategy 5: community development and the open source model 73 Innovation process strategy 6: research prototype 74 7 Introduction The theme of the book is software innovation - creativity and innovation in the development, design and exploitation of information systems (software). Software innovation is an important topic, since it now underpins most of the significant technological advances in modern societies, but surprisingly little researched. Nor does it figure much in the education of system designers and developers. This education is mainly focused on instrumental and normative techniques - efficient programming underpinned by method and engineering techniques. System developers learn an engineering (or business or design) craft – but sometimes forget the point of their endeavours. This is to provide software and systems which change the practices of their user communities – a core definition of innovation. Why study software innovation? Motivations for understanding and studying software innovation are split into three perspectives: • The global perspective • The competition perspective • The developer perspective The global perspective The making of software and development of information systems, like all forms of human work, evolves to match the society it has to serve. It would be more accurate to say that software development evolves in a circular and dependent relationship with society, since information systems are also an important part of the society we live in. The world we live in is increasingly globalised, which means that the connections between societies and businesses in different parts of the world are becoming stronger. This means that software and systems are increasingly built to serve wide groups of users and organisations in many countries. Programming languages are based on English, but are essentially international which means that, in principle, software can be made anywhere in the world. A further development, consequent upon globalisation, is standardization. Microsoft Word is a standardised software package used all over the world; it is primarily the language of the interface which is different. There are many such software packages, including 11 most forms of operating software, personal productivity and business systems (such as enterprise resource planning systems) which are standardized in this way. Of course there are many cultural factors which make it impractical to build software in remote locations, but increasingly software development can be, and often is outsourced. This means it can be produced by well-educated engineers in countries which have much lower wage structures that in the developed countries. Economic factors tend to dictate that software will be outsourced if a similar result can be achieved more cheaply elsewhere. The last trend which is noticeable in the evolution of software development is industrialisation. Whereas software in the 60’s was used by a small number of highly educated consumers, and developed by a programming elite with skills that were possessed by only a handful, it is now ubiquitous. Software is found everywhere, in offices, homes, shops and cars. Most of us can’t work without a computer, can’t communicate without a mobile phone, and can’t run a home without a whole range of gadgets run by embedded software. The large scale of software development means that it is becoming mass-produced - made for many by many, rather than by an elite. This trend means that much software development is of a fairly routine nature and can be made relatively quickly by engineers with solid technical educations. This routine kind of development can often be outsourced. With these three factors (globalisation, standardisation, and industrialisation) dominating the current evolution of software development, software firms in highly developed countries, employing expensive, but highly-educated engineers and consultants) need to think carefully about their market position. Now, and increasingly in the future, they will not be able to compete in the market for everyday routine software, and must focus on development forms with higher value addition. One of these is software innovation. The competition perspective The shifting macro-trends mean that software firms in highly developed countries must understand how to be innovative to retain their competitive positions in the market. They need to be able to attract the best engineers, to be flexible in the face of rapid technology development, to understand modern development methods, to incorporate changing software technologies and to position themselves at the leading edges of 12 the markets they serve. Software innovation is one of the key elements in competitive success in mature software markets. Innovative software firms ride the crest of the technology wave. The developer perspective Highly competent, well-educated and experienced developers and consultants need challenge to flourish. They do not thrive on repetitive and routine work. They need to constantly develop their skills, learn new techniques and technologies, to have both creative freedom of expression, and space and time to express that creativity. They need some control over their own development processes, and to be given enough responsibility to be experiment (and occasionally to fail) without drastic consequences. In other words, they need to be software innovators Knowledge sources for software innovation There is, unfortunately, no real science of software innovation, in the form of a definitive textbook or a series of well-defined research programs. However the study of innovation in general is quite well developed, with contributions from several disciplines, and the various disciplines that focus on software and information system development also have some focus on innovation. The knowledge represented in this book thus comes from many interrelated sources. • Economics provides us with understandings of how innovation (and particularly technology innovation) drives 13 economic progress in society. The seminal figure here is Joseph Schumpeter. • Cognitive science and psychology contribute to our understanding of creativity in the individual. For instance, Csíkszentmihályi theorizes the characteristics of the human mind when it is in a creative state. • The sociology of science gives us a broader understanding of how technology and society develop hand in hand. • Management science has developed understandings of how to create and manage innovative firms and teams, which are extremely relevant for software firms and development teams. These and many other contributions belong to the field of studies called innovation. However system designers’ core disciplines have also been concerned with innovation and creativity • Computer science contains a long tradition of innovation, and is the base discipline for software engineers; many of the great software pioneers work in this or related fields. • Software engineering particularly helps with process innovation: here the evolution of agile development styles plays an important role. • Information systems is important for the understanding of the application of software innovation – thus the relationship between the eventual innovative software product and its implementation context (community, organisation, society), and the impact of software innovation as social change. When researchers and writers in these traditions address innovation, they often use the concepts and theories developed in innovation studies. Thus the science of software innovation starts in many places, but the combination of these traditions can be used to give a relatively secure basis for exploring the subject. 14 Software innovation - the shape of the study Software innovation in this book is understood as a development process which leads to a software artefact – a program, application, algorithm or to code. In principle, the process, the product, or both can be innovative. Software is built by developers working in teams, so it’s appropriate to study both how individual developers are creative, and how teams function in an innovative way. We should also be able to understand where development is innovative, and where it is less so - in other words to evaluate it. There are many creativity techniques that might help the development process, and all development activities can be underpinned with software tools, so these should also be studied. Innovation studies also show that innovation is strengthened by community – the network of experts that the developers are in touch with. Finally, software is not built in isolation, but in a social context, and the study of infrastructure and of technology and market trends can be important to the planning and timing of innovations. Eight work-style heuristics The book is not a technique or process guide, or a method or blue-print for software innovation. Instead it suggests that innovative system developers work in particular characteristic ways. These work-styles can be expressed as rather broad heuristics: that is, generalised precepts for attitudes to development work. A heuristic, in this context, is a broad guideline for behaviour or action which ‘will provide an acceptable solution to a problem in many practical scenarios 15 but for which there is no formal proof of its correctness’ (Wikipedia). The eight heuristics are: Keep your head up Grow your knowledge community Target your product’s innovation profile Shape your own process Develop your personal creativity Be a super-team-worker Bring your toolbox Know when you are (not) innovative They are discussed further in the following chapters. Innovation concepts and software development Now we will turn to some basic concepts in innovation studies (which will help define a basic understanding of the topic) and their relevance for software development. In each case the terms are explained, not with a formal definition, but as they are consistently used in the book. Three basic starting places: creativity, invention, innovation Three terms will appear again and again in this study. They are related but also distinct. • Creativity refers to the personal (or group) characteristics which can lead to invention, often described as internal abilities or states or relationships. • Invention refers to the process or result of creativity - to an idea or artifact which is novel, or the action of developing it. • Innovation describes the creative act and invention carried into wider use, leading to substantial kinds of change; thus the successful exploitation of new ideas. 16 Thus we should understand that innovation is more than creativity and more than invention. Merely to design something that is new is not innovation; in fact novel ideas are fairly commonplace and often not the difficult part of innovation. The invention must be developed and produced (normally commercially), distributed and brought into use. The end result of innovation is social change, a change of understanding or practice in a community of people. Thus innovation is sometimes described like a formula: Innovation = Invention + Exploitation + Diffusion where innovation is composed of the invention (new idea or artefact) itself, its commercial development and exploitation, and its adoption in a wider community of users. Thus the result of successful innovation is experienced as change in the way people work, the way business is carried out, people’s choice of entertainment, their communication habits and interaction, the governance of communities, and in many other aspects of social life. Innovation is itself, as we shall later discover, social – usually the work of many people, rather than a single idea generator. Radical and incremental innovation We can distinguish between two types of innovation: radical and incremental. Radical innovation involves disruptive or discontinuous change, a break with what has gone before and an entirely new way of doing things. Radical innovation is rare (the wheel, the steam engine, the computer, the internet). It is sometimes associated with resistance as peoples ways of thinking and working are changed fundamentally over short periods of times. These changes can be painful, throwing groups of people out of work, or changing the political balance of power. Incremental innovation is much more common, consisting of relatively small improvements to existing practices or ideas. However not every incremental improvement can be described as innovation, in order to be considered innovation, the improvement must have a certain scale of impact. Incremental innovation makes it meaningful to speak of innovation cycles – iterating or sequential series of minor and major improvements driving technological advance (for example, from early flying machines to today’s airliners). 17 Product and process innovation Another useful distinction is between product and process innovation. An innovative product is an artefact (or a software system) which displays characteristics of novelty and utility. Novelty means the product has not been developed before, whereas utility refers to its economic value (what consumers are prepared to pay for it). Ford’s model T, the first really successful automobile is an example. Process innovation, by contrast, is innovation in the ways that artefacts are made, their development method or engineering process. The model T could not have been successful without the mass production techniques (principally the automated production or assembly line) used to build it. They enabled it to be produced in a certain volume, and at a certain price that could make it widely attractive. Installed base (infrastructure) Innovation is time and situation dependent, which means that a change in one situation at one time is not necessarily innovative, whereas the same development in another time or place might be. Take as an example internet provision. In Scandinavian countries almost everyone has access to the internet at the time of writing, whereas in sub-Saharan Africa very few people do. The introduction of the internet constituted a major social change in the 90’s, revolutionising both work and leisure practices. However, provision of the internet to the remaining Scandinavian population at this point in time cannot really be described as innovation, even though it might change these peoples’ lives to some extent. Nor could the internet be described as an innovation in Scandinavia in the 70’s. It existed as an invention, but not one that was sufficiently exploited or diffused to be described as an innovation. However, widespread adoption of the internet in sub-Saharan today might be experienced as innovation by Africans – they have little experience of it and it might produce extensive changes. To introduce another example: agile development methods are not really new, but a development firms introducing them into projects for the first time will definitely experience the change as a process innovation. Therefore the idea of installed base is borrowed from the study of infrastructure; we use it here to describe the starting point for innovation – that is, the current situation in terms of available software, or development process. It follows that we can think of software innovation at different 18 levels – from the global societal level, to the local community level where innovation is experienced as change by relatively small groups of users or developers. Innovation and software systems All these basic innovation concepts can be applied without difficulty to software systems. We will be interested in the creativity of software developers and consultants, and the way they work in creative teams. We will be interested in innovative software systems (products) and how they can be commercially developed and consequently widely diffused in society. We will be interested in the effects that innovative software systems have on their users and in communities at large. It will interest us to study the radical innovations in computing and information systems, but will be largely concerned with what can more often be achieved - incremental innovation. We will be especially interested in process – the ways that system developers work innovatively, and the methods and techniques they use. Sources and further reading: COOPER, R. B. (2000) Information Technology Development Creativity: A Case Study of Attempted Radical Change. MIS Quarterly, 24, 245-276. DENNING, P. J. (2004) The social life of innovation. Communications of the ACM, 47, 15-19. FAGERBERG, J. (2005) Innovation: a guide to the literature. IN FAGERBERG, J., MOWERY, C. & NELSON, R. R. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Innovation Oxford, Oxford University Press. ROBERTS, E. B. (1988) Managing invention and innovation. Research Technology Management, 31, 11-27. 19 1. Keep your head up: software trajectories and innovation windows In this chapter we will look at software innovation in its context in society. The theory is mainly derived from social and economic studies of technology innovation, and adapted, as always, to the software innovation context. However the focus will not be a generalized understanding of the role of software innovation in a society or an economy, but instead on the software innovator’s application of these kinds of understandings. We have already established that innovation is time-dependent and our subject of interest will primarily be timing – when to innovate. The chapter will develop the idea of a software innovation window – a space of time in which the conditions for software innovation are optimal. The proposition behind the chapter will be that these conditions are at least partly analyzable – and it is thus possible for the smart software innovator to be in the right place at the right time. In order to make this kind of analysis we will have to understand several different phenomena, including • infrastructure (installed base) – the understanding that all software innovation is dependent upon the condition of the infrastructures that will support them, which can be both technical and social • software technology trajectory – the idea that software technologies develop in particular historical directions which can be understood, and to some extent predicted • software technology convergence – a phenomena where software technologies tend to come together and be integrated in applications or devices • software innovation windows – the time box where innovation is possible, and where it is still possible to make an impact in the market before it is dominated by other innovators. Technology and economic development Technology innovation is a good indicator for economic growth. Countries that are able to sustain high levels of technology innovation (measured, for instance, in patents) also enjoy economic prosperity. There is even some evidence that the 20 information technology and internet revolutions are widening the gap between innovators and non-innovators - ‘affluent states at the cutting edge of technological change have reinforced their lead in the new knowledge economy, but so far the benefits of the internet have not trickled down………productivity gains from information technology may widen the chasm between the most affluent nations and those that lack the skills, resources and infrastructures to invest in the information society.’ NORRIS, P. (2001) Digital Divide, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Part of the reason for this relationship is that many societal structures need to be in place to facilitate innovation of the global variety. These can be described as infrastructure, or installed base. In sub-Saharan Africa, where many villages do not have reliable power supplies, there is little point in expecting your users to adopt an internet-based computer game; however, if you innovate in the field of solar panel power generation you have a developing market. The same picture that operates at the societal level can be found at the level of companies. Those companies that are technologically innovative, for example in their manufacturing processes, or in adopting information technologies, will normally have a competitive edge over non-innovators (though it should be understood that, in both societal and industry arenas, innovation is only one of many factors contributing to economic success). Developed (rich) societies and leading edge companies are more dependent on innovation, better innovators, and earlier users of innovations. In this way they are engaged in a continuing cycle of innovation, where the economic benefits of innovation are invested in more innovation. As innovations are absorbed into general use they become part of the installed base upon which the next generation of innovations can be made. Social structures such as research and development departments and university research teams also build upon past achievements in a cycle of success. The other side of the innovation cycle coin is the tendency of routine and well-established forms of technical work to move to locations where labour is cheaper. If a technology is relatively well-understood and the local infrastructures are good enough, then non-innovative technology work can often be performed more cheaply in less developed countries. Thus steel manufacture moved away from the countries at the centre of 21 the original industrial revolution, and ship and car building has larger re-located from the advanced western nations to the emerging eastern nations. Software construction is currently undergoing the same transition, where it is sufficiently mature and well-understood (routine) for many parts of it to be outsourced or relocated. India leads the emerging nations drive to capture this market, and the areas around Calcutta and Bangalore have become India’s Silicon Valley Installed base, infrastructure Central to the understanding of technology development in this rather wide societal perspective is the idea of infrastructure. You can think of infrastructure as yesterday’s innovation. Once a railway, the petrol engine, an internet router, or a software compiler was an innovation, but now it is part of your community’s daily experience. It’s always available, it more or less always works, you don’t really think about it unless it isn’t working. When you have a power blackout then you will be irritated if you can’t charge your phone, but you will never think to be grateful for the vast majority of the time that you can charge it without effort. Infrastructure is the unnoticed precondition for technology innovation. innovation (invention + exploitation + diffusion) pre-condition for becomes infrastructure – installed base We can distinguish two forms of infrastructure, the physical and the social. Our road system infrastructure is partly a physical structure of tarmac, metal and plastic, partly a series of social conventions about which side of the road we agree to drive on, and what we do when the traffic light is red. Infrastructure is not permanent, but under constant development and modification. 22 Installed base (infrastructure) is critical to software innovation. It’s difficult to separate hardware and software development in any rigorous way, but every PC application is dependent on a complex set of hardware requirements to run. An up-to-date commercial application is unlikely to run well (if at all) on a computer that is five years old. The processor will be too slow, there will be too little memory available, and various protocols and operating systems will be missing. Web-based applications depend on bandwidth available to large numbers of users that would have been unthinkable ten years ago. The speed at which software and hardware innovations in the computing and information technology fields are adopted and diffused and become part of the installed base is remarkable in relation to previous types of innovation. We’ll illustrate the relationship between installed base and software innovation with a case study. Skype is an internet based communication programme based on VOIP and peer-to- peer technologies. It integrates a range of communication support services, and exploits its technologies to provide a cost benefit to its users compared to conventional landline and mobile phone services. It became a considerable success, but is entirely dependent on certain infrastructures being in place. Firstly it is dependent on having sufficient bandwidth available to internet uses to support a reasonable degree of sound quality in voice exchanges. In the early days of the internet no one had this, and it is only recently that broadband has been readily available at a price consumers were prepared to pay, and only in developed countries. Secondly it is dependent on coverage – the numbers of users are connected. Without many connected users (nodes) there is no-one on-line to talk to. Only when a critical mass is reached is it likely that the people you intend to communicate with will also be online. Many nodes are also necessary to support efficient peer-to-peer architectures. In addition a variety of social infrastructures need to be in place, not least the degree of computer literacy and widespread acceptance of the internet 23 which makes it possible to switch from the conventional known landline phone technology. It’s easy to see that Skype can never be a success if these infrastructures are not in place. Few people need a service which doesn’t connect you to anyone you want to talk to, or doesn’t allow you to hear what is being said. Software technology trajectories The second idea we will use to understand timing in software innovation is that of trajectory. A trajectory describes the direction in which something travels, and is used in the literature on ‘social shaping’ of technology to describe the historical development of technologies, and their relation to their social circumstances. Thus we can examine the development of the modern mp3 player from the early days of sound reproduction technologies – wax cylinders, needles and acoustic horns, through vinyl discs, valves (some music buffs still prefer them), transistors, optical technologies and file compression (the mp3 format). In such an analysis one could trace the way inventions in other fields (plastics, electronics, optics, data transmission) were adopted and integrated into sound reproduction in a chain of historical events. One could also study the evolution of listening habits as a social phenomenon related to the technological developments. Another phenomenon you should be aware of is digitalization: the tendency of mechanical information technologies to become first electronic then digital. In modern music production, the whole of the composition, distribution and listening process can be managed digitally. A song is composed and produced in a sequencer program, using sampled sounds and software instruments; the result is converted to an .mp3 file, distributed via the web, downloaded to, and played on an mp3 player. There need be no mechanical analogue interventions. 24 This digitalization potential lies in any product which is information-oriented. Software technology trajectories can be analyzed in the same way. In the next diagram, Wikipedia’s description of the evolution of the operating system is analyzed as a tree of trajectories, charting the development of operating systems from the run time libraries of the 50’s, through the various machine- dependent proprietary operating systems of the 70’s to embedded, mainframe-oriented and PC systems of the present day. The really interesting question for software innovators has not, however, been asked yet: it is whether these historical descriptions of technology trajectories can be used to predict the future? As in all predictive science, the question cannot be answered with certainty, but it’s reasonable to expect that software developers working in leading edge technologies have a deep knowledge of the evolution of the technologies they work with, are very well-oriented in respect to scientific advancement in their field, and work in close contact with other specialists and experts. This puts them in the position to understand what is coming next before the general public can, and to design their products accordingly. They may be fairly certain about those developments they are currently working on, or developments that are just around the corner, but much less certain about what will happen further into the future. Many of the fields move so fast that it’s hard to predict more than about 25 five years ahead. The further ahead one tries to look, the greater the degree of prediction uncertainty. Moreover, radical innovations, though rare, can alter the trajectory of a technology quite markedly and quite rapidly. IBM predicted in the 80’s that the future of computing (its trajectory) lay in the mainframe, and sold the operating system that later became DOS to Bill Gates, and outsourced its microprocessor technology to Intel. The radical innovation of the microcomputer (or personal computer) took the direction of the evolution of computing in an entirely different direction, and cost IBM its leading position in the market. If we return to the analysis of Skype, we can notice two technology trajectories that are particularly important. The first is the development of voice over internet (VoIP). The protocols that enable voice transmission over broadband connections (as an alternative to traditional copper wire telephony) became increasingly sophisticated in the 90’s. Traditional telephony companies began to implement internet solutions, major software companies such as Cisco developed switching software, internet service providers saw an opportunity to broaden their service portfolios and customers became interested in a potentially cheap (or free) telephony alternative. The second is the rise of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Networks of many nodes arose as an alternative to client server architectures to enable file sharing. UseNet became popular for sharing news articles, whereas Napster became a very widely known music sharing service. BitTorrent is a modern equivalent. All these services combine some P2P elements with a particular perspective on the free sharing of information inherited from the early internet founders. The Estonian developers of Skype (Sky peer-to-peer) were able to understand the future potential of these technologies and combine them in a novel way. Software technology convergence Further tendencies that can be observed with technology trajectories are digitalization and convergence. These can be illustrated by a 26 pocket handheld communication device such as an iPhone or Blackberry. The device contains many different features and functionalities beyond its basic mobile communication role. It is potentially a contact database, a camera, a music player, a radio, a calculator, a route finder, an internet browser, an alarm clock, a file storage device, a game console. It has an operating system and layers of software handling communications, GPS, SMS, MMS and Bluetooth interfaces, and synchronization with the owner’s PC. None of these software technologies are novel in themselves (though they may require considerable programming ingenuity to make) – they are adaptations of well understood concepts. Most of the features have independent lives in other devices. The designer’s job is to put together a package of functionality which has utility for the potential owner. A new technology is regularly added to the mix: camera, touch screen, motion sensors – however these technologies are also found in other devices. The technologies can thus be said to converge in the new device. Over a longer historical perspective, a further tendency can be observed: the digitalization of mechanical technologies. Neither an address book, a camera, a music player, a radio, a calculator, a route finder, an alarm clock, nor a file storage device are originally digital technologies – in earlier instantiations they were paper address book, box camera, valve radio, map, clockwork and filing cabinet. Over time, the information content of the service is identified, digitalized and the software technologies for manipulating it developed. Eventually the mechanical technology dies out and is replaced by the more convenient digital technology. We can observe technology convergence and digitalisation in the services that Skype offers: not just a phone substitute but an address book, a contact search facility, an instant messaging service, telephony conferencing, video conferencing, profiling, gaming, synchronisation with outlook, fax, mobile skype, different kinds of interfaces with conventional telephony. The software innovation window 27

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