How Cross-boundary Disruption-from-above Superseded Incumbents’ Sustaining Innovation in the Mobile Industry: Qualitative, Graphical and Computational Insights

61 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2018

See all articles by Robert A. Burgelman

Robert A. Burgelman

Stanford Graduate School of Business

John K. Thomas

Priv8Pay, Inc.

Date Written: August 1, 2018

Abstract

This study of the transformation of the mobile device industry examines how cross-boundary disruption (XBD) superseded the incumbents’ sustaining innovation, which helps explain the rapid rise of Apple and Google Android and the equally rapid fall of Nokia and other incumbents between 2007 and 2013. Four concatenated strategic factors limited the incumbents’ capacity to adapt: (1) incumbents’ market myopia about latent unserved needs of the high-end customer segment, (2) incumbents’ dynamic capabilities gaps for meeting these needs, (3) demand shift timing of high-end customers toward the disruptors’ radically innovative products, and (4) the rapid growth of novel ecosystems around the disruptors’ technology platforms. Graphical interpretation further elucidates these concatenated strategic factors and suggests computational implications. The paper’s qualitative, graphical and computational insights help formulate a conceptual framework of XBD-from-above, which contributes to theory development about inter-industry disruption and transformation.

Keywords: cross-boundary disruption-from-above, sustaining innovation, incumbent market myopia, incumbent dynamic capabilities gap, incumbent demand shift timing, disruptor ecosystem growth, signal processing and dynamic capabilities, inter-industry dynamics.

Suggested Citation

Burgelman, Robert A. and Thomas, John K., How Cross-boundary Disruption-from-above Superseded Incumbents’ Sustaining Innovation in the Mobile Industry: Qualitative, Graphical and Computational Insights (August 1, 2018). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 3705. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3271802 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3271802

Robert A. Burgelman (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

John K. Thomas

Priv8Pay, Inc. ( email )

San Francisco, CA
United States

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