Format invasions

My colleague Tim Bevins forwarded me an article from strategy-business.com: Format Invasions: Surviving Business’s Least Understood Competitive Upheavals (registration required) by Bertrand Shelton, Thomas Hansson and Nicholas Hodson, all consultants at Booz Allen Hamilton.
I thought this a good article in that it explains disruptive innovations in a new way, including the point that disruptive innovations succeed if managers don’t fall into the trap of adding new services which take away the initial cost advantage.
What I did not like so much was the article’s insistence on the word “format” when all it means really is “technology”, at least the way Clayton Christensen uses it. They also set up a straw man attack on Christensen – namely saying that Christensen says that the new technology (er, format) underperforms the old. What Christensen says is that the new technology underperformes the old in the traditional dimensions or with the traditional customers, which is essentially what they are saying as well.
Nevertheless, many readers have trouble with the words “technology” (thinking it involves hardware or software or other complications) or “business model” (which sounds, and is, consultantese.) Perhaps “format” is a better format…..

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