Understanding the dynamics of technological configurations: A conceptual framework and the case of Smart Homes

Alexander Peine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper explores the innovation dynamics of technological configurations using one particular case study. Technological configurations have been defined in the literature as technical systems with no generic identity, i.e. they are the subset of technical systems for which the pattern of how to arrange the components (architectural knowledge) is defined during implementation. While the implementation of configurations is relatively well understood, knowledge about how configurational technologies evolve as a whole is still underdeveloped. This paper closes this gap and introduces a conceptual framework to understand the dynamics of technological configurations. In particular, the framework introduces the notions of technological field and field learning to add a diachronic and cumulative dimension to the original idea.

I apply the framework to the empirical case of Smart Home systems in order to provide a systematic analysis of the underlying innovation dynamics. In particular, I show how the configurational nature of Smart Home systems, and its acknowledgement to various degrees in the corresponding technological field, relates to the emerging innovation dynamics. I conclude with two sets of results. First, I identify a number of conditions on which the future stabilization of the field into cumulative forms of learning depends. Secondly, I draw a range of conclusions with regard to the dynamics of configurational technologies in general.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-409
Number of pages14
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Innovation process
  • Smart Home
  • Technical system
  • Technological configuration


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