Innovation: Are You A Predator or Are You Prey?

author: James Utterback, Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
published: May 21, 2010,   recorded: June 2003,   views: 3980

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It seems a well-established truth that new technologies drive out older, established ones. In this lecture, MIT Sloan Professor James Utterback demonstrates just the opposite, that a symbiotic relationship can evolve between new “predator” and older “prey” industries that can sustain both. Using such vivid historical examples as the lightbulb, safety match and mousetrap, he describes how the original companies that created these products thrived even as they were challenged by newer firms that harnessed automated manufacturing or different distribution methods. Playing a remarkable film shot in 1927, Utterback shows how the transition from ice harvesting to mechanical refrigeration expanded the market for both – exemplifying the idea that new and old business ideas can and often do reinforce each other.

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