Abstract / Description of output
This paper explores the complex temporal dynamics of innovation through a longitudinal study encompassing the dramatic ‘failure’ of South Korea’s flagship WiBro (wireless broadband) technology and services to achieve widespread uptake, following their apparently ‘successful’ development and launch. WiBro emerged in Korea by enrolling diverse actors with diverging orientations around a compelling broad vision and expected national and international markets. Launched in 2006, with buoyant expectations, WiBro failed to establish critical mass in mainstream markets in the face of growing competition from rapidly evolving mobile telephone technologies. Though players committed to WiBro managed to establish some specific niche markets, the service was finally terminated in 2018. This eventual failure was rooted in a sequence of decisions as orientations shifted over the course of WiBro’s innovation. Generic and largely untested expectations were initially productive in enrolling a wide range of players in developing WiBro. However, tensions became acute as roll-out approached when the growing investments required to install a novel telecommunications infrastructure and launch WiBro services provoked more stringent assessment of specific options. As the stakes became higher, alignments shifted in a changing sociotechnical landscape; submerged differences in orientation resurfaced and commitments unravelled.
Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)
- distributed governance of innovation
- generic expectations
- temporal dynamics
- wireless broadband