003 - Disruptive Technological Innovations

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

New and emerging threats to the political and economic sovereignty of states:

- Disruptive technological innovations, such as drone and 3D printing.


The technological processes that create disruptive technological innovations also have the possibility to create political and economic risks for individuals and societies.


Key Terminology

Define the key terms above by using the 'Useful Links' below:

Useful Links

Activity One - Watch

Before we look at two key game changes to technology that have recently we are going to look at exactly what disruptive technology is. Watch the YouTube clip below and write down what disruptive technology is and which companies have suffered from technological changes. After all you have probably never experienced going into a shop to hire out a video for the evening were as that was a normal part of my childhood. 

Useful Resources

Activity Two - Detailed Example - Drones

We can't not look at drones as a major example of a disruptive technology but they are not as new as they may seem. The first pilotless vehicles were actually built during WW1 but they were generally launched by a catapult or flown by singing radio control. The Americans then used drones as target practice during the interwar years and for reconnaissance during the Vietnam War. It is only more recently that drones have been used by the lay person and by NGOs to transform how humanitairan aid is given (deliver cargo, photograph map terrain, deliver supplies).

Useful Resources

An Animated History


Evolution of Drones

Thinking Tech

Activity Three - Detailed Examples - 3D Printing

My experience of 3D printing is reading how we can now make replica mini Eiffel Towers in our own homes but is it more than that? As a teacher who has attended one of the Wired conferences in London I was amazed at how 3D printing is beginning to revolutionise the development of prosthetic limbs in both High and Low Income Countries. 

Useful Resources

What is it?

What happened to the 3D printing revolution?

3D Printing revolutionising manufacturing and design

Activity Four - Detailed Example - YouTube

The domain name www.youtube.com was activated in 2005 and was founded by three workers who were originally at PayPal. Obviously they are based in California. It has been one of the fastest growining sites and in 2006 alone it averaged 100 million video views per day in the month of July. Today it is more than just a site which hosts amateur videos as it now distributes original content. YouTube has created a platform for companies, organisations and individuals to influence how we perceive the world, what we buy and how we think. 

Useful Resources

Activity Five - Possibilities

Many of you have never known life without the above technologies so you have not necessarily seen how they have changed different industries. After all how would I teach without the help of the 'University of YouTube' these days? ;) So what technology could change your life? 

Useful Resources

Exam Style Question

Evaluate the potential of disruptive technological innovations to make significant threats to the political and economic sovereignty of states. [16 marks]

This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com