Disruptive Technologies

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Harvard Business School professor, Clayton M. Christensen in his book Innovators Dilemma, introduces the concept of disruptive technologies. In his book Christensen divides technology into two groups, sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining a technology requires continuous and incremental improvements to an already established technology. Disruptive technology lacks refinement. This technology often has performance problems because firstly it appeals to a limited audience, secondly it is new and lastly it may not have a proven practical application. Therefore, a disruptive technology is a low performance, less expensive technology that is introduced in a market where the “established technology is outpacing people’s ability to adapt to it.” (1) The aim is to introduce the new technology that employs “a ‘disruptive’ strategy, rather than an ‘evolutionary’ or ‘sustaining’ strategy, to overturn the existing dominant technologies or status quo products in a market.” (3) Disruptive technological innovations are usually classified into two groups, low-end disruption and new-market disruption. Where the lower-end disruptive innovations are aimed at customers who do not require the full performance valued at the high-end of the market, the new-market disruptive innovation is targeted towards customers whose needs have previously been not served by existing merchants. When the rate at which products improve/innovate exceeds the rate at which customers can adapt the new performance, it is known as low-end disruption. As a result the performance of the product exceeds the needs of certain customer groups. On the other side, the new-market disruption occurs when a product fits a new or emerging market segment that previously has not been served by existing businesses in the industry. Researchers have found that most disruptive innovations often remain a minority because they are unable to match up to revolutionary innovations, which introduce higher performance innovation to...
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