Check out this article from the Photo Marketing: November 2003 issue. So some people have read “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.. but does that entitle them to call the cameraphone a disruptive technology? I don’t think so. Quoting from what a DT (Disruptive Technology) is: “This is a technology that changes the industry in such a way that previous competitive and business rules do not apply.” I don’t think this is the case (yet). Cameraphones and MMS for that matter are things which are being pushed a lot by the traditional GSM operators to get their money back out of their investments in GPRS and 3G networks. As such, cameraphones are not that disruptive; I’m siding with Gamez here. The thing worth noting is that some of us here do believe some of the powers in the market are shifting towards the Asian providers of handsets, but that’s market dynamics. So, digital cameras: disruptive for sure. Cameraphones: sustaining technology, building on two “older” disruptive ones like the digital camera and to a lesser extend the mobile phone. (and for those who disagree: re-read “The Innovator’s Dilemma“.
There is one other thing I’d like to add. When seeing this article about disruptive technologies, I had to think of another book by Andy Grove: Only the paranoid Survive … It was a book on how to exploit the crisis points that challenge every company. In the book he talks about 10X changes, and strategic inflection points. To me, disruptive technologies are just another fancy name for strategic inflection points, or a symptom of them.
“An inflection point occurs where the old strategic picture dissolves and gives way to the new, allowing the business to ascend to new heights. However, if you don’t navigate your way through an inflection point, you go through a peak and after the peak the business declines.” … Often, these points are hard to miss, but once they’re passed, we get into what Grove calls the “10X” Force, which is “When a change in how some element of one’s business is conducted becomes an order of magnitude larger than what that business is accustomed to, then all bets are off. There’s wind and then there’s a typhoon, there are waves and then there’s a tsunami. There are competitive forces and then there are supercompetitive forces.” These are often dramatic and enormous changes businesses are going through, and once it’s all over and the dust settles, there’s a whole new landscape… some will be stronger, others will have lost control and are sliding into oblivion… again, some of us think this what happening now to the mobile phone industry. I certainly do think there’s some big 10X tsunima going on.