Paper: Anticipating Disruptive Innovation

It is very true that humans are naturally shortsighted and that we often “mortgage the health of our future for the urgencies of today.”  Nowhere in any company is this more true than when it comes to innovation.  The majority of your product teams are, and rightfully so, likely to be laser-focused on  meeting their current project schedule rather than developing your next generation revenue source.  With the persistent economic malaise, resources for these activities are shorter and shorter, which in turn stunts economic recovery in a very vicious circle.

This subject is well addressed in the paper, Anticipating Disruptive Innovation, a winner of the Industrial Research Institute’s (IRI) Maurice Holland “Best Article Award” for 2004.  This paper was written by Ralph Katz and Jay Paap, who is the instructor for Management Roundtable’s workshops on Technology Scouting and Roadmapping.  Here’s an overview of the paper with links below to the full text .pdf.


Organizations in today’s hypercompetitive world face the paradoxical challenges of “dualism,” that is, functioning efficiently today while innovating effectively for tomorrow. Corporations, no matter how they are structured, must manage both sets of concerns simultaneously. To do this, organizations have to understand and learn to manage the dynamics of innovation that underlie both disruptive and sustaining innovations. Most analyses have been flawed by giving too little weight to the interactions between needs and technologies. Based on a dynamic model of these interactions, three distinct patterns of substitution are identified that illustrate how these two forces intersect.

Link: Anticipating Disruptive Innovation

MRT Workshops: Product & Technology Roadmapping for Future Growth: Linking Markets, Products and Technology


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