NBIC convergence and technology-business coevolution: Towards a services science to increase productive capacity

Jim Spohrer, Douglas McDavid, Paul P. Maglio, James W. Cortada

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


In 1776, Adam Smith argued that specialization of labor increases productive capacity. Over the past 228 years, as markets expanded and new industries were established, there was indeed a dramatic increase in labor specialization. We do not believe this drive toward specialization is slowing down. Nevertheless, we argue that processes of scientific technological convergence and technology-business coevolution naturally and periodically give rise to the need for specialists who are deep at the intersections of richly interconnected disciplines. Thus, paradoxically, one generation's generalists may become the next generation's specialists. In particular, we describe an emerging services science discipline and profession that lies at an area of rich interconnection among existing disciplines. We argue that a services science will help us improve our ability to rapidly develop and deploy well-designed, effective, and valuable capabilities in today's information services economy. Services science aims to understand ways to rapidly increase productive capacity by accelerating the successful deployment of new technologies and improved capabilities, such as those brought about by NBIC technology convergence. Our speculative discussion of the emergence of services science begins to explore the opportunity of matching social-organizational progress rates with technological progress rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationManaging Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno Innovations
Subtitle of host publicationConverging Technologies in Society
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)1402041063, 9781402041068
StatePublished - 2006


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