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Published: November 30, 2004

 
 

Bridging the Breakthrough Gap

A Third Way
Research by business scholars has shown that, when it comes to major innovations, the first movers rarely find the greatest success. They’re usually outmaneuvered by the copycats — the companies that follow in the innovators’ footsteps but end up dominating the market because of their stronger managerial and marketing skills.

Conservative innovation follows a different path, a third way. Conservative innovators neither pioneer a new technology nor copy it. Rather, they combine it with an older technology to create a different sort of product altogether. And, often, it’s exactly the product that today’s customers actually need, want, and are willing to pay for.

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Author Profiles:


Nicholas G. Carr (ncarr@mac.com), a contributing editor to strategy+business, is the author of Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage (Harvard Business School Press, 2004).
 
 
 
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