Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What's an Innovation

I am writing this partially because the Innovation class deals with fairly abstract notions (the best kind) and I need to get my mind around it.

All of the innovations fall into two categories: Sustaining and Disruptive. What places them in the these categories is not the idea itself but rather how it's being used.

Sustaining innovations have a single purpose. They make things more, better, cheaper faster. Disruptive innovations are characterized by several very important criterea:

- They have to be addressed to an uderserved or unserved public.
- The have to create a brand new market niche.
- They do not fit on the sustaining S-curve*

The best example of Disruptive innovation is the iPhone.

If Apple positioned the iPhone just as a call phone it would be sustainable innovation. All it did was create a possible better phone, an expensive one. What Apple did correct as they sold it as a brand new mobile computing platoform, allowing for the app content. The Apps content is the key here. Apple is not trying to compete with GPS systems, cell phones or Laptop computers. They created a brand new niche of mobile computing, jumping off the better, faster cell phone curve, which unfortunately Motorolla has been trying to catch up to.

My team, in class, needs to come up with a Disruptive Innovation idea for the final. It's not going to be easy.

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*Quick explanation about the S-Curve. It is a standard product or market curve that starts with a sharp angle from the introduction to growth, goes flatter as the product/market matures, and tapers off at the end of the timeline.Hence looking like an S (flatter of course without the fancy endmarks)

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