Sustaining v. Disruptive Innovation
The principal idea to absorb here is that as incumbent technologies begin to over-serve customers' requirements, disruptive technologies often begin to address customers' lowest requirements.
In general, the challenge for managers of incumbent technologies is to have the courage and authority (and the cash) to enter markets and build new value networks to participate in the different markets around disruptive technologies, to be there when the disruptive technologies become mainstream.
Christensen studied the disk drive markets because of the speed of innovation there, but this graph describes the adoption experience of as many disruptive innovations as you can recall:
- the Gutenberg printing press
- electric light
- Be Bop
- the racial integration of Major League Baseball
- the Fender Telecaster
- jet aviation
- recreational use of cannabis sativa
- Compact Disc