t should come as no surprise that fewcompanies, when confronted with disruptive technologies, have been able toovercome the handicaps of size or success. But it can be done. There is a method to spotting and cultivating disruptive technologies.Determine whether the technology is disruptive or sustaining. The first step is to decide which of the myriad technologies on the horizon are disruptive and, of those, which are real threats. Most companies have well-conceived processes for identifying and tracking the progress of potentially sustaining technologies, because they are important to the future of the established market. However, they tend to ignore the potentially disruptive technologies that do not stem from an established market. The latter are most likely to be disruptive.Some of the disruptive technologies will create new market opportunities, whereas others will disrupt the existing market.
How to Assess Disruptive Technologies. Many technologiesthrough to disrupt the a-tent of a market. Here,we examine whether a particular technology is disrupt-ive or sustaining. First, draw a line depicting thelevel of performance and the trajectory of performance improvement that customers have historically enjoyed and are likely to expectin the future. Then locate the estimated initial performance level of the new technology. If the technology is disruptive,the point will lie far below the performance demanded by currentcustomers.
the future of the established mar-ket. However, they tend to ignore thcpotentially disruptive technologies that do not stem from an established market. The latter are most likely to be disruptive.Some of tbc disruptive technologies will create newmarket opportunities, whereas others willdisrupt the existing market. As they lay down thc foundations for their business, companies need to evolve a clear strategy thcrewell- defined assump-tions. For example, thc strategy ofRevolutionary Optical Disk, a drive thataccomplishes what no other drive can,could be different from the strategy ofDiskMan or of Quantum. Companies are often tempted to embrace tbemaximizing-market strategy, but it usually pays off little more than an initial advantage in sales. Thc best strategy is to embrace a marketthat is beginning to show promise, and wait until that promise is clear before pursuing a disruptive strategy. This is a costly and time-consuming strategy, but it is the strategy that thcyearn.
The graph that appears on page 517 shows how a disruptive technology can get a foothold in a mainstream market. The disruptive technology is depicted as a dotted line that begins near the current performance level. In this example, the disruptive technology is a disk drive using x-ray technology to read data from the disk medium. 827ec27edc