In the chapter on Types and Patterns of Innovation the author begins by identifying the four different types of innovation that occur: product vs. process, radical vs. incremental, competence enhancement vs. competence destroying, and architectural vs. component. Companies in the technology industry should find it beneficial to have an understanding of which type of innovation will be most effective for them based on the resources they have and the impact they would like the innovation to have on customers and competitors.
Next, the author introduced the technology s-curves. He points out that both the technology’s performance improvement as well as the rate at which technology is adopted in the marketplace, repeatedly resemble a s-shape curve. This occurs because as new technology is introduced, it requires more time and effort to develop due to unprecedented innovation. Once the new technology has been introduced and been given time for better understanding and initial improvement, it then shows steep accelerated improvement, followed by a decline after reaching either the technology’s apex or the technology becomes replaced by newer technology. The markets adoption follows the same shaped s-curve due to only innovators and early adopters who are willing to take the risk of using technology that has yet to be perfected. After a slow start, it is then followed by a steep increase in adoption by the early majority and late majority. The curve then flattens or declines after only laggards begin adopting the product.
The s-curve model suggests that technology change is cyclical. Technology typically begins with a slow start, followed by steep improvement and adoption, and ends in a decline as it is rendered obsolete by new technology.