The Emergence of a New Technology: A Multi-Perspective Analysis on the Case of Human Papilloma Virus (Hpv) Molecular Diagnostic Tests

Emerging technologies are sources of new industries and sub-sectors as well as they represent important drivers for technological change. Given the central role emerging technologies play, we aim to investigate the phenomenon of emergence in order to reveal its complexity. To this end, by drawing on an institutional-evolutional framework, we use a case study approach that combines a multi-perspective investigation with mixed qualitative-quantitative analyses, i.e. historical analysis, interviews, and advanced bibliometric techniques. Precisely, we investigate the process of emergence for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) molecular diagnostic tests since its conception in the 1980s. This technology is one of the most promising technologies for the cervical cancer screening that accounts for an extremely large market of 100+ million tests performed annually. Preliminary analysis shows the emergence of HPV diagnostics mainly driven by the intrinsic potential the technology has for the development of more reliable tests as well as
companies seeking for new technological opportunities to compete with Pap test and profit from these. In addition, we show that an emerging technology, rather than replacing, may co-exist with established ones especially in those institutional environments characterized by strong regulations and entrenched institutions.

Author(s): Daniele Rotolo, Michael Hopkins, Ismael Rafols
Organization(s): University of Sussex
Source: DRUID Society Conference 2012
Year: 2012

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