ELEC4445 – Entrepreneurial Engineering Assignment 3

Disruption analysis

As an entrepreneur, one of your tasks is to recognize opportunities. During the course of the semester, we have seen that opportunities best play out in markets that are nascent, immature, or fragmented. In other words, markets and opportunities cannot be decoupled. As we saw during the lecture entitled “Disruption”, some of the best opportunities are tagged as disruptive i.e. that they can lead to “the transfer of wealth in an industry from dominant incumbents to disadvantaged entrants.”

Last year (2021), students were asked to investigate a software innovation, namely deepfakes:

Last month during ESPN’s hit documentary series The Last Dance, State Farm debuted a TV commercial that has become one of the most widely discussed ads in recent memory. It appeared to show footage from 1998 of an ESPN analyst making shockingly accurate predictions about the year 2020. As it turned out, the clip was not genuine: it was generated using cutting-edge AI. The commercial surprised, amused, and delighted viewers.

What viewers should have felt, though, was deep concern1.

This year we are shifting gear and we are looking at quantum computing with the very recent announcement of the launch of Diraq, a quantum computing company based here at UNSW:

Diraq – a new quantum computing start up – came out of stealth with a LinkedIn post yesterday. The Sydney-based quantum computing company is the culmination of two decades of research into building quantum processors using electron spins in CMOS quantum dots and is led by Andrew Dzurak (CEO), a key figure in the field2.

In this assignment, you are ask to perform a disruption analysis of the potential impact of Diraq’s technology and importantly on its claimed scalability:

Like many players in the quantum computing space, the company appears to stress that their approach is the only viable method of scaling quantum computers for wide scale commercial applications, oLen flagged as requiring millions, if not billions, of qubits.

The technology [~1,000 words]

Briefly explain the technology by situating it within the current technological context. In doing so, highlight the perceived advantages and disadvantages over existing technologies.

1 Forbes, Deepfakes are going to wreak havoc on society. We are not prepared, hfps://bit.ly/3bozr2Z

2 The Quantum Insider, Diraq Emerges from Stealth; Targets Billion Qubit Silicon Quantum Computers, hfps://bit.ly/3vC2mLd

The markets [~2,000 words]

Review the markets where the technology might have an important – perhaps disruptive – impact. Try to be comprehensive and include nascent and emerging markets. Also explain the reasons for ruling out seemingly obvious markets (for technological or other reasons).

The players: incumbents & entrants [~3,000 words]

Chose one of the identified markets (and just why) and analyse its players in terms of incumbents and new entrants. Try to identify how each could potentially be impacted by the new technology.

The economic stakes [~2,000 words]

Explain/detail what are the economic stakes e.g. the size of the chosen market that could potentially be impacted, the time period over which this impact could play out, the revenue loss that could be felt by one major incumbent and the impact on their valuation. Also include potential countermeasures an incumbent could take in order to avoid being disrupted.

Your assessment [~500 words]

By referring to the original definition (see above), clearly express your opinion on the disruptive character of the proposed technology. Of particular relevance is a critical review of your underlying assumptions

Disruption marking

You are encouraged to read further material on the subject in order to understand the context properly and complete this assignment.