Published on

The Innovator's Dilemma

book cover image and link to amazon

This is part of a 4-book series on disruptive innovation. You can find the full seres here.



The notes below were from a discussion and chat with John Matlik and represents thoughts from each of us.

  • Key attribute in a Start-up that gets lost in larger successful organizations = Humility!
    • "Sears let arrogance blind it to basic changes taking place in the marketplace."
    • "Often decisions & "pride" in times of plenty become the Achilles heel that leads to future fall in times of austerity."
    • "Successful companies" often ignore emerging megatrends that become the new products & services that render current products & services irrelevant.
  • Bottom line: the "Innovator's Dilemma" = "It is in disruptive innovations, where we know least about the market, that there are such strong first-move advantages"
    • Innovation = Change in tech to procure, present, sell, deliver, beyond only Engineering, Management, Marketing, Investment, Managerial Processes …
    • "Sound decisions by great managers can lead a firm to failure"
    • "The logical, competent decisions of management critical to the success of companies are also why they lose their leadership."
  • To resolve the dilemma, we need to acknowledge a dual reality of large successful businesses:
    1. Need near term survival & growth to sustain the health of large business, but also …
    2. Need long-term sustainment & the ability to address/pivot to disruptions that could cause businesses to fail or go bankrupt—particularly in an environment of increasing pace of tech emergence.
  • Three key differences in the above two items:
    • Sustaining technologies (which improve established products & services) vs. disruptive technologies (which create different value props & new customer value)
    • The Pace of technology can outstrip what the market needs at that time (thus timing for investment is important & requires a focus on and ability to define 'value')
    • Customers & financial structures of "successful companies" put 'filters' on what is most valuable/attractive (driven heavily by corporate culture).
  • Characteristics/attributes of 'disruptive products or services':
    • Simpler
    • Cheaper
    • Smaller
    • More convenient

Back to the Book Shelf