The Innovator’s Battle Plan — HBS Working Knowledge


In sustaining circumstances, incumbents win because they are the ones attacking with asymmetries on their side. Consider an entrant that tries to bring a radical sustaining innovation to an incumbent’s best customers. There are no asymmetric motivations here. Incumbents are very motivated to go after this market. The incumbent’s processes are relative strengths, not relative weaknesses. A new firm that attempts to introduce a radical sustaining innovation almost guarantees itself a long, bruising fight. Unless the new firms sell their advanced product quickly to the established leaders or have extremely patient, deep-pocketed investors, incumbents will spend more, produce better products and services, and ultimately force the entrants out of the market.

Can you think of any “incumbent” this applies to recently?

P.S. Wow, mind opening article

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