Disruptive Technology or Visionary Leadership?
Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 34-38, January 2006
5 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2006
Christensen's (1997) thesis of disruptive technology has been highly praised and popular with managers. Two of its premises are important and insightful. These deal with the performance path of a disruptive technology and its impact on dominant incumbents who ignore it in favor of listening to their current consumers. However, Christensen's thesis also suffers from limitations, two of which are troubling: ambiguity in the definition of disruptive technology and the logic of the sampling to test its validity. Several studies I have conducted over the years suggest that the disruption of incumbents - if and when it occurs - is due not to technological innovation per se but rather to incumbents' lack of vision of the mass market and an unwillingness to cannibalize assets to serve that market. I have developed metrics to test these concepts, along with models to predict the outcomes and financial value of strategic changes firms can make to avoid these problems.
Keywords: Disruptive Technology, Innovation, Strategy
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation