Title: High-end disruptive technologies with an inferior performance

Authors: Christian Sandström

Addresses: Vera Sandbergs Allé 8, Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden

Abstract: The literature on disruptive technologies has previously stated that those innovations often emerge in low-end segments or in new markets and as the performance improves it eventually displaces the old technology. This article aims to explain how and why a technology may prosper in high-end or mainstream markets despite its initially lower performance and does so through three in-depth case studies. The findings suggest that those technologies may compensate the inferior performance by simplifying and removing work for customers. For instance, digital imaging emerged in high-end segments since these customers were willing to trade-off the initially lower image quality in order to remove the usage of film. Based upon these results, the paper concludes that the literature on disruptive technologies needs to maintain a more nuanced view of value and how it is created and distributed inside the customer|s organisation.

Keywords: disruptive technologies; inferior performance; high-end technologies; digital imaging; video surveillance; low-end segments; new markets; old technology; high-end markets; mainstream markets; lower performance; trade-offs; image quality; photographic film; photography; value creation; value distribution; Sweden; cameras; Hasselblad; Facit; electronic calculators; office equipment; IP video; internet protocol; world wide web; innovation management; technology management; innovation enhancement; innovation environments.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2011.042977

International Journal of Technology Management, 2011 Vol.56 No.2/3/4, pp.109 - 122

Available online: 11 Oct 2011 *

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