Discontinuous technology inventions, also called radical innovations or disruptive innovations, are those that not only add an incremental value to an existing invention, but that actually create a new invention that meets needs that were not previously supplied to consumers. , generating new value and a new market.
A new market, because, by definition, if the product (or invention of technology) is new, the market that markets that product can also only be new.
To illustrate what is an invention of discontinuous technology, we can quickly give the example of digital cameras.
Before them, the continuous or incremental inventions in the existing photographic cameras were reduced to more powerful zoons, more intelligent flashes, which did not mark the eyes with red, longer batteries, films of the most varied types.
That is: only improvements to the invention that already existed, an increased continuation of the product.
When the digital camera appeared, there was no longer a need for films, the images could be stored virtually, without taking up physical space, the number of photos no longer depended on how many rolls of film had been purchased (practically extinguishing this market) and it was you can see the photos immediately and even discard the bad ones.
Therefore, all these details are inventions of discontinuous technology that generated new behaviors (and, therefore, new values in the product), since it was not an increment to the existing invention, but a new technological invention.
See below the characteristics of discontinuous technological inventions.
See also: Disruptive innovation: the great idea that changes an era!
What characterizes the inventions of discontinuous technology
Risk is one of the most prevalent concepts when defining what a discontinuous invention technology is.
And this happens for a simple reason: creating a more efficient (and expensive) zoom for the existing camera, involves few risks and much less capital than creating something totally new, which, in some cases, may even be rejected by the market.
In fact, consumers of cameras, as well as those of cars, mixers, lawn mowers, televisions, or any other technological inventions you can imagine, are already waiting for new models every year.
In the case of cars, they are even given a date at the end of the name, to know exactly which incremental innovations that specific model incorporates, based on this time record.
But the greatest risk is not the only element to stand out in the inventions of discontinuous technology, let’s see them all in more detail.
1- High investment in Research and Development
Continuing to use our example of digital cameras, the level of investment in this type of project is clearly more expensive than the mere redesign of a flash or, as in some cases, adding new colors to an existing product line.
2- Low cost solutions for users
Even with high development costs, inventions of discontinuous technology must be inexpensive for their users, at the risk of not being adopted.
Even though digital cameras have a slightly expensive price at the beginning, it is necessary to remember that consumers no longer needed to buy films, much less pay for developing the photos.
3- New customers for the invention
By solving a previously unmet need, inventions of discontinuous technology attract new users.
Here is a hypothetical example: a researcher on plant life who traveled through forests cataloging new species, would rather take a notepad and pencil to draw the plants than be forced to transport an enormous amount of film rolls and still be able to take at most about 600 photos, he saw no value in a conventional camera.
With the almost limitless possibility of taking pictures and even discarding inappropriate ones, this new consumer has integrated into this new market.
4- inventions of discontinuous technology create value
As detailed above, a new value is created, something that addresses an important consumer need.
5- A new market
Once again: if there is a new product and new consumers, by definition a new market has been created.
6- Creating something new
Finally, the most significant difference with discontinuous technology inventions is that they create something new, not just improve what already existed.