Discontinuous Innovation

see also Radical Innovation.

This “Tools for Discontinuous Innovation Research and Development ” is pretty good (abstract below)

Discontinuous (also known as “radical”, “GameChanger™”, or “disruptive”) innovations literally “change the game” by transforming existing industries or creating new ones. Successful discontinuous innovations yield significant profits for the winners and significant losses, even bankruptcy, for the losers. In Part I of this paper we give an overview of discontinuous innovation, including a data on some notable successes and failures. In Part II, we describe several tools to aid in the successful execution of discontinuous innovation R&D efforts. The author developed two of these tools, the Business Model Maturity checklist and the Maturity-Readiness Map. The other tools are taken from the existing literature and applied to the specific needs of discontinuous innovation R&D. In Part III, we provide some starting points for implementing the ideas in this paper.



Utterback [59] provides the following definition of a discontinuous or radical innovation: “By discontinuous change or radical innovation, I mean change that sweeps away much of a firm’s existing investment in technical skills and knowledge, designs, production technique, plant and equipment” [p. 200]. From Utterback’s perspective, dislocation or discontinuity at the firm level or in the industry accompanies the introduction of radical innovations. Continuous (incremental) innovations give way to standardization and status quo within the firm or industry.

(Garcia and Calantone, 2002: 117)

J.M. Utterback Mastering the dynamics of innovation, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA (1996)

Garcia, R. and Calantone, R. 2002. A critical look at technological innovation typology and innovativeness terminology: a literature review. Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 19, pp.110-132.

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