Symmetric Assumptions in the theory of disruptive innovation

In December 2014, I published a paper together with Henrik Berglund and Mats Magnusson, discussing the theoretical assumptions underpinning current theory theory on disruptive innovation. The paper can be read here, below an abstract:

The literature on disruptive innovation has convincingly explained why many established firms encounter problems under conditions of discontinuous change. Incumbents fail to invest in new technologies that are not demanded by their existing customers. This argument is grounded in resource dependency theory and the associated assumption that existing customers control a firm’s internal resource allocation processes. While the problem of disruptive innovation has been convincingly explained, there is still a need for managerial solutions. We argue that a key reason why such solutions are lacking can be found in the asymmetric assumptions made in the original theory of disruptive innovation. Specifically, we identify two related forms of asymmetry. First, the focal (incumbent) firm is treated as a collection of heterogeneous actors with different preferences, incentives and competencies, whereas firms in the surrounding environment are treated as if they contained no such heterogeneity. Second, the theory of disruptive innovation describes incumbents as controlled by their environment, but has failed to recognize that the environment can also be influenced. In this paper we argue that a more symmetric theory of disruptive innovation – i.e. one that treats all similar entities in the same way – opens up for a range of interesting managerial solutions.

Kommer digital teknik stöpa om den högre utbildningen?

Digitaliseringen leder i stort sett alltid till sjunkande priser, vertikal desintegrering (sk unbundling), tilltagande konkurrens och ofta till att offentliga monopol (spel, radio, TV, aktiehandel, telefoni) kullkastas. Varför skulle universitetssektorn på sikt utgöra ett undantag?

I tidningen Universitetsläraren argumenterar jag att den högre utbildningen kan vara på väg mot ett antal omvälvningar de kommande åren. Artikeln kan läsas här.

Är 3D Printing en Industriell Revolution?

På ESBRIs föreläsningsserie Estrad, föreläste jag den 1:e oktober om huruvida 3D Printing är en industriell revolution eller inte. Detta gjordes med utgångspunkt i min egen kartläggning av hörapparatsindustrins övergång till att använda tekniken för tillverkning av snäckor.

Föreläsningen kan ses på Esbris hemsida, här.

EFN Web TV gjorde en intervju, den kan ses här.

Tidningen Ingenjören skrev också om föreläsningen här.

Disruption and Social Media – Entrant firms as institutional entrepreneurs

Recently, Christofer Laurell, who is presently working at Stockholm University, got an article published in International Journal of Innovation Management. The paper discusses the disruptive impact of social media and draws upon an extensive analysis of blog content in fashion journalism.

The abstract can be found below:

“Technological change often leads to competitive turbulence in established industries. Little is known about how the introduction of social media affects incumbent and entrant firms. This paper explores the impact of social media on the fashion journalism industry. Our findings show that entrant fashion bloggers have toppled incumbent fashion journalists. Through a netnographic analysis of published blog content, we argue that entrants have become dominant by transforming the profession of fashion journalism and in doing so, they have acted as institutional entrepreneurs. We argue that entrants are less bound by established institutional practices and that their ability to redefine the dominant logic of an industry can explain why they have outperformed incumbents.”

The full paper can be found here