Taking A Wait-And-See Approach With Disruptive Innovations

TechCrunch

Editor’s note: Matt Marx is the Mitsui Career Development Professor and an Associate Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a coauthor of “Dynamic Commercialization Strategies for Disruptive Technologies: Evidence from the Speech Recognition Industry,” which is forthcoming in Management Science.

There’s been quite the brouhaha lately about disruptive innovation. On one side is Harvard Prof. Clay Christensen (author of The Innovator’s Dilemma) and his long-prevailing theory about how disruptive innovation drives incumbents out of the market. On the other side is Jill Lepore and her attack of Christensen’s theory in The New Yorker. It’s an interesting issue: Do disruptive innovations almost always lead to the downfall of incumbent companies? Is their only hope to “disrupt” themselves?

Along with Joshua Gans of the University of Toronto and David Hsu of Wharton, I conducted a study on the speech…

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