R&D strategies for disruptive innovation

Authored by: Chang-Chieh Hang , Yi Ruan

The Routledge Companion to Innovation Management

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138244719
eBook ISBN: 9781315276670
Adobe ISBN:


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The theory of disruptive innovation, proposed by Christensen in a seminal paper (Bower and Christensen, 1995) and a subsequent book (Christensen, 1997), has attracted the attention of many scholars and appealed widely to practising managers and entrepreneurs. Disruptive innovation (DI) is defined as “a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simpler applications at the bottom of a market or in a new market, and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors.” Christensen coined this term to differentiate this type of innovation from the well-known radical, breakthrough type of innovation based on an obviously superior technology (Kostoff, Boylan, and Simons, 2004) and the necessary incremental type of innovation to sustain current business growth by established incumbents.

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