Every innovation has positive and negative effects. The key consideration is whether the positives outweigh the negatives. In addition, what is positive for the innovator may be negative for the incumbent. Therefore, there is likely that no consensus can be reached on a listing of the pros and cons. Firstly, I address the need for a simple coherent definition of disruptive technology. Next, the focus moves to the impacts of disruptive technology. Finally, I consider critical factors in a response designed to adopt or adapt to a disruptive technology and conclude with summarized arguments.
Defining Disruptive Technology
A disruptive technology is an upstart technology with the potential ...view middle of the document...
Impact of Disruptive Technology
Danneels (2004) challenged the limited, myopic scope of Christensen’s work on disruptive technologies and questioned the veracity of Christensen’s findings by:
Organizing the critique around the following themes: (1) the definition of disruptive technology; (2) the predictive use of the theory; (3) explaining the success of incumbents; (4) the implications of the theory for the merits of being customer-oriented; and (5) the merits of creating a spin-off to commercialize the disruptive technology. (p. 246 – 247)
There is no universal consensus among researchers on the critical characteristics of disruptive technologies. Using historical data as the basis for predicting future trends in a fast-paced industry such as the Information Technology industry is unrealistic. The research findings on one group of technologies cannot be easily extrapolated to another group of technologies. The impact of disruptive technologies is usually best analyzed in hindsight (Danneels, p. 250).
The beneficiaries of the gains of disruptive technologies are usually young, agile, entrepreneurial-minded firms that are able through perseverance and dogged determination to uproot larger, immobile, entrenched counterparts (Carayannopoulos, 2009, p. 419). Larger market players tend to ignore the possibilities of new innovative offerings until it is too late to mount a successful response. This may be due to poor environmental scanning and not necessarily a key success attribute of the disruptive technology.
Two Key Success Factors
A firm cannot ignore a disruptive technology. Therefore, a proactive response is required. The options for a successful response are generally limited to modification of the firm’s business model or wholesale acceptance of the new technology requiring a traumatic upheaval as it is required to abandon its previous dominant position (Lucas, 2012, p. 5; Dewald & Bowen, p. 213). Consequently, I propose the following two strategic considerations for implementation.
Adapt the Firms Vision and Mission
The vision of a firm is its guiding light. The firm’s mission embodies the firm’s purpose, values and competencies. The advent of a disruptive technology may necessitate the revisiting of these key documents. The firm would need to reassess its strengths and weaknesses and reformulate its strategic direction.
Manage Change Effectively
A disruptive technology is like a tsunami heading in your direction and you have 15 minutes advance warning. Having a risk management plan in place would be helpful. Any change is disruptive; rapid change threatens business...