The technological domain, or technology, refers to the application of knowledge to the production and distribution of goods and services. It is often viewed as a major source of environmental change for an organization. Technology is greatly affected by innovation. Innovation is the creation or modification of a process, product, or service. Innovation can occur at different rates, as can its transfer throughout the environment. For instance, the use of silicon chips to replace transistors as the medium for storing computer information is an example of product innovation. Modifying a silicon chip to increase its storage capacity is an example of process innovation.
Technology transfer involves the application of innovation to processes, products, or services either within or between industries. Although innovation is often restricted to the process, product, or service for which the change was intended, innovations can also be applied to products or services for which the change was unintended. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was instrumental in the innovation of a substance that would function under intense heat to protect spacecraft from burning upon reentry into the earth's atmosphere. An unintended application of this innovation was the use of the substance in cookware for both conventional and microwave ovens. The product, now known by its brand name "Pyrex," has undergone many changes in its application within this industry.
The rate of innovation varies by industry. Coal mining and the manufacture of farm machinery have low rates of innovation. On the other hand, innovations based on the application of bioengineering techniques have had impacts on medicine (serums), agricultural production (corn), and veterinary science (growth hormones) over a short period. While this suggests that some industries and organizations will have to deal with technological factors in their environment more than others will, technological factors should never be completely ignored. Regardless of the industry, there is always the risk that competitors will innovate a product which will make an organization's product obsoleteâ€”perhaps overnight. Examples include manufacturers who continued to produce electric typewriters without monitoring developments in the computer industry, razor manufacturers who failed to anticipate the introduction of electric razors to replace safety razors, and watch manufacturers hurt by the introduction of battery-operated watches that need no windup mechanism.