1 Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 Technology and Innovation Management, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
This paper suggests to look into the market formation processes related to emerging technologies, using nanotechnology as a case. This is in contrast to the usual focus on knowledge generation aspects when analyzing technology evolution in evolutionary economic research. Although nanotechnology is an emerging technology at an infant stage of commercial development expectations to its economic and societal impacts are huge. However, despite ongoing large investments globally, the rate of commercial development is slower than expected. The reasons seem to be rising concerns about risks to health and the environment associated with nanotechnology. There are some early indications that firms are developing new nano strategies where nano activities increasingly are treated discretely. The paper investigates these trends using the flat glass industry as case based on bibliometric studies and other company communication as well as in depth case analyses. The paper concludes tentatively that while the market for nano products seems to approach commercialization it is becoming still less transparent. This may have important implications for the further commercialization of nanotechnology, which are discussed in the paper. The analysis feeds into evolutionary economic research on technology and economic evolution and corporate strategizing and business models related to emerging technologies.