GRA6821 Eight lecture: Disruptive technologies

(October 23, 2009, 0800-1045, C2-040)

Disruptive technologies (later changed to disruptive innovations) has become something of a buzzword – you can hardly hear of a new technology or service that isn’t branded as disruptive these days, especially if it also makes use of other spiffy technologies and concepts such as cloud computing and Web 2.0.

In this lecture, we will look into the practicalities of disruptive innovation, in the context of a case of a company – Sonosite, which produces a technology that can be brought to market in several different ways – each with its own set of possibilities and difficulties. Technology strategy can be simple in theory and very hard to do in practice, as you will see when you read and analyze the case.

On a more administrative note – this is the date when I expect you to start thinking, in writing, about your term project and the paper it is supposed to result in. I have made available a Google document where you can write in your suggested term paper topic and group – and make comments on your colleagues’ efforts. Please edit this document before 2000 on October 22.

Please read and be prepared to discuss:

  • Chapter 7 (versioning) in Shapiro and Varian
  • Utterback, J. M. (1994). “Chapter 7: Invasion of a stable business by radical innovation” Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation. Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Press.
  • Most of the Christensen & Raynor book
  • Clayton M. Christensen, Stephen P. Kaufman, and Willy C. Shih: Innovation Killers: How Financial Tools Destroy Your Capacity to Do New Things, Harvard Business Review, January 2008
  • Case: Sonosite: A View Inside

Recommended literature:

  • The whole of Utterback’s book
  • Watch this video from MIT, seeing Clayton Christensen teaching live.