Business Impact

Punctuated Evolution

From the editor in chief

Two and a half years ago, this magazine underwent a revolutionary transformation, emerging with a new design, a new staff and a new editorial focus on the process of innovation-a fact we proudly announced on our cover, which described us as “MIT’s Magazine of Innovation,” a tag we still bear. That was the revolution.

But change doesn’t end after the barricades have been stormed and a new regime has been installed in place of the old one. In fact, the change of regime was just the beginning of the process needed to make the new Technology Review a great magazine. How does a magazine continue to improve after it relaunches itself? Largely by listening to its readers.We’ve been listening hard over the last two and a half years, both formally, in statistically valid sample surveys of our audience, and informally, via letters, e-mail, phone calls and face-to-face conversations.

We’ve learned a lot from this concentrated listening.We’ve learned that, of the different kinds of stories we offer, those that focus directly on the technology rather than the people, organizations and strategies involved in innovation resonate most strongly with our readers. We’ve learned that information technology, though not an exclusive passion, is very much at the top of people’s minds. And we’ve learned that the technology horizon is relatively circumscribed: Most readers are interested in technologies that will reach the marketplace in the foreseeable future-the next three years or so.

This story is part of our November/December 2000 Issue
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Now we are combining those three lessons into a plan for what we will offer you over the next year: a magazine focusing directly on emerging technology, with an emphasis (though far from an exclusive emphasis) on information technology and a relatively near-term time frame. That’s the evolution.

This evolutionary process will be especially visible in our next issue, January/February 2001, a special issue on the “State of Innovation.” That issue will incorporate a set of significant changes in the design, content and staff of the magazine, as well as in its frequency. I’ll spell out things in more detail in my next column.

These changes are exciting for us here on Vassar Street, and they mark a milestone for the new Technology Review .But all major milestones are bittersweet, and the bitter part of this one is that, as we evolve, we will be parting company with some people who have played a key role in the success we’ve enjoyed so far.

Specifically, this issue marks the last regular appearance in our pages of four writers: Michael Dertouzos, Stephen S. Hall,Wade Roush and G. Pascal Zachary. Each has written a regular column that added enormously to the richness and flavor of the new Technology Review. Each of those writers, however, has other important challenges to go on to, and we will present four new columnists in the next issue.

As we part, I’d like to offer heartfelt thanks to these four writers, who took a chance on a new and untried concept-a magazine from MIT about the process of innovation-and devoted their considerable talents to making it a success. Michael, Steve,Wade, Gregg, thanks to each of you for your inspiration and professionalism.

And now, on to the evolution.

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