Failure & Technology
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Failure is an integral and normal part of a technology's evolution. Widely viewed, failure extends from the commercial collapse of a firm promoting new technology and the inability of a technology to profit in the marketplace to less obvious shortcomings like suboptimal performance, poor economics, and late delivery. Historians have not paid sufficient attention to this important subject, focusing on success. The understandable tendency to focus on what worked instead on what did not has resulted in a simplified appreciation of the tortuous, demanding and uncertain path that technologies follow to move from an idea to a reality. This paper explores the importance of failure in the history of technology and offers a theoretical framework to approach failure.
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