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Kellogg faculty and students join forces to explore emerging technologies
By Suzanne Wolkenfeld

  Tech Venture: New Rules on Value and Profit from Silicon Valley
Tech Venture: New Rules on Value and Profit from Silicon Valley (John Wiley & Sons, 2001) and its forthcoming follow-up, Kellogg on Innovation & Technology, are joint efforts by Kellogg Professors Ranjay Gulati, Mohan Sawhney and Anthony Paoni, and their students. The books are the result of the classroom study and field trips that form the Kellogg Tech Venture course.

“The books, like the course, reflect the unique collaborative environment at Kellogg,” says Gulati, who like his co-authors is an expert in assessing technology’s role as a driver in today’s global marketplace.

The Kellogg Tech Venture Team produced an array of technology white papers and research. The students researched the impact of new technologies on a range of industries, with the course culminating in a field trip to Silicon Valley to meet representatives of companies at the frontier of various technology sectors. The team initially published a CD-ROM of all their findings, then, because the feedback was so positive, decided to select the best essays for inclusion in this print version.

Tech Venture analyzes “how technology has changed the way in which business is created, organized, financed, and sustained,” says Gulati. Key to an evaluation of the new business models is their ability to generate profits over time.

In Kellogg on Innovation and Technology, the Tech Venture Team of 2001 explores the emerging frontier of high technology with the goal of helping managers understand the impact of technological innovations on business. It includes insights gained from extensive research visits to Silicon Valley.

The book is organized into three sections. “Enabling Technologies and Infrastructure” addresses wireless and optical networking, as well as challenges in semiconductor development. “Business Models and Markets” explores selected industries and emerging markets. “Emerging Technologies” examines futuristic technologies and nascent markets. A review of a chapter from each section serves to illustrate the scope of subjects covered in the text.

The Future of Semiconductor Technology
In 1965, Gordon Moore, a semiconductor engineer, made what has now become a famous pronouncement known as Moore’s Law. Moore predicted that the cost of computing will be cut in half every 18 months, stressing the essential role of miniaturization in this process. Although Moore’s law has prevailed for 35 years, this chapter raises questions about its future. Through analyses and case studies the text considers the physical limits of semiconductors and the materials comprising them.

While innovation has continued to keep Moore’s Law in effect, the costs of this innovation are mounting. For instance, the latest Intel fabrication lab will require $3.5 billion.

Wireless Applications
The value of wireless applications, suggests this chapter, will soon depend more on customer needs and less on technological constraints. In this relatively nascent market, wireless technology can add value over that of the desktop by facilitating real-time interaction and providing local information. Wireless can provide vertical applications, which are customized solutions for a particular industry, as well as horizontal applications, which include knowledge applications, communication, and m-commerce. While the authors point out that the “hockey-stick” growth curve some industry watchers predicted a few years ago has yet to materialize, they contend that this technology will continue to play a valuable role for consumers and corporations.

Recent Trends in Nanotechnology
This chapter considers the business implications and opportunities surrounding nanotechnology, an emerging manufacturing technology, which designs and produces devices made from atoms. The field is an amalgam of such disciplines as computer science, physics, chemistry, and biology. Despite widespread skepticism about the potential of this breakthrough technology, say the authors of this chapter, it has produced evidence of its ability to manipulate individual molecules and atoms to form microscopic systems, some of which hold promise for fields as disparate as plastics, communications and medicine. The two major challenges nanotechnology faces are its ability to manipulate atoms in the right place and to limit manufacturing costs.

Kellogg on Innovation and Technology offers many frameworks and a historical context for its subject. The text’s focus on the business value of technologies suggests ways that may help reduce the volatility that has characterized technology industries.

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University