Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Radical' keyword pg.1 of 1
02 JULY 2011

Disruptive versus Radical Innovations

"The innovator's dilemma is this: a company that does everything by the book – listening to customers, managing by facts, being disciplined about costs and quality, and so forth – can get blindsided by an innovation that rapidly takes away its markets, because it was doing everything right. The innovations that cause this 'why bad things happen to good companies' dilemma are disruptive innovations. The signature story of disruption reads as follows: an upstart low–end competitor displaces a much larger incumbent in a market, with the incumbent either retreating upmarket to higher margin/lower volume products or dying out altogether. ...

Examples are smaller, cheaper hard drives disrupting incumbent hard drive makers, hydraulic shovels disrupting cable–winch shovels (an early 20th century example), PCs disrupting mainframes, ink jet printers disrupting laser printers and, most recently, the Nintendo Wii starting to disrupt the Playstation and the Xbox.

Major though they were, innovations such as CDs, laser printing and jet airplane engines were not disruptive with respect to the technologies they displaced ( cassette tapes, light lens Xerography and piston engines respectively). In each case, the incumbents benefited from these non–disruptive, or sustaining innovations.

The key point to remember is that disruption is a market/business phenomenon and has little to do with technology per se. In particular, a disruptive innovation may or may not represent a major technical breakthrough. Major breakthroughs, which are called 'radical' in Christenson's model, may or may not be disruptive, while minor, or 'incremental' innovations can be massively disruptive. The opposite of disruptive is sustaining. Why and how does disruption happen?

A disruptive innovation usually starts as a low–quality differentiated product in a low–volume marginal segment of a much larger mature market, which demands attributes that the mainstream market does not, and which is willing to give up performance attributes the mainstream market is not (example, Wii customers willing to give up sheer processing horsepower for 3d input capability).

A marginal player occupies this segment and starts growing rapidly, solving initial quality problems while retaining a cost advantage.

The incumbent mature market leader, no matter how visionary, is forced to ignore the opportunity because it does not meet the growth needs dictated by its larger size, and also because the disruptive product is not yet good enough for its mainstream customers.

The marginal player goes through a learning curve, solves its quality problems and suddenly starts threatening the market leader in its main markets

The incumbent scrambles to put together a response, nearly always fails because of the disruptor's head start and optimized culture, and retreats to a higher–end market."

(Venkatesh Rao, 23 July 2007)


breakthrough • business phenomenon • cable-winch shovels • cassette tapes • CDs • Clayton Christensencompetitor • differentiated product • disruptiondisruptive innovation • disruptive innovations • growth needs • hard drive • hydraulic shovels • incremental • ink jet printer • innovation • innovations • innovators dilemma • jet airplane engines • laser printer • laser printing • light lens Xerography • listening to customers • mainframemarket leader • market phenomenon • Nintendo Wii • non-disruptive • opportunity • PCs • piston engines • Playstationproductradicalradical innovationsustaining innovations • technical breakthrough • Venkatesh Rao • Xbox


Simon Perkins
20 MAY 2011

The Fluxus Reader offers the first comprehensive overview on this challenging and controversial group

"Fluxus began in the 1950s as a loose, international community of artists, architects, composers and designers. By the 1960s, Fluxus has become a laboratory of ideas and an arena for artistic exprmentation in Europe, Asia and the United States. Described as 'the most radical and experimental art movement of the 1960s', Fluxus challenged conventional thinking on art and culture for over four decades. It had a central role in the birth of such key contemporary art forms as concept art, installation, performance art, intermedia and video. Despite this influence, the scope and scale of this unique phenomenon have made it difficult to explain Fluxus in normative historical and critical terms. The Fluxus Reader offers the first comprehensive overview on this challenging and controversial group. The Fluxus Reader is written by leading scholars and experts from Europe and the United States."

(Ken Friedman, Swinburne Research Bank)

Fig.1 Robert Watts (1965). 'TV Dinner' from the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 1999 to September 2, 2001.



1950sarchitectsart and cultureart movement • artistic experimentation • artistic practiceartistsAsiaAustraliaavant-gardechallenging conventional thinking • composers • concept art • contemporary art forms • creative practicecritiquedesignersEuropeexperimentalFluxus • Fluxus Reader • installationintermediainternational communityjournal • laboratory of ideas • North Americaperformance artpre-prepared mealradical • Swinburne University • video art


Simon Perkins

to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.