Bergek et al give a great account of the difficulties new entrants may face, and not just because the incumbents are “baddies”…
New entrants are always measured on their efficiency performance – and here microturbines fail with a huge margin. In the car industry, the problem for new entrants is the complexity of the established performance trajectory. In the disruptive innovation framework, performance is assumed to be measured along a single critical performance trajectory (cf. Bower and Christensen, 1995). In contrast, car performance is evaluated against a complex set of non-substitutable criteria, including driving experience, styling, fuel efficiency, convenience, functionality, reliability, safety as well as price. To succeed, an innovative product has to improve some core performance attribute (or introduce new ones) without sacrificing the other dimensions. This makes it very difficult for new firms to enter based on superiority only in one or two characteristics – they have to offer “good enough” performance on all the other dimensions as well.
(Bergek et al. 2013: 1220)
Bergek, A. Bergren, C., Magnusson, T and Hoday, M. 2013 Technological discontinuities and the challenge for incumbent firms: Destruction, disruption or creative accumulation? Research Policy 42 1210–1224.
I haven’t read this yet –
Schmidt, G.M., Druehl, C.T., 2008. When is a disruptive innovation disruptive? Journal of Product Innovation Management 25, 347–369.
But it looks good!