According to the life cycle model of technological evolution, after the emergence of a dominant design, technological product industries undergo an “era of incremental change.” This era of incremental change is not well understood in the existing literature. Although the period is typically characterized in terms of stability and minimal innovation, we find that the era of incremental change can be actually quite dynamic. Through our research into the period of time following the emergence of a dominant design in automotive emission control systems, we find that the overall product innovation in the industry did not decline immediately following the dominant design, and increased throughout the era of incremental change. Further, we find that firms maintain their attention on the same core components that they innovated upon before the dominant design, but that these components make up less of the overall proportion of total innovation throughout the era of incremental change. Finally, we found that the concentration of innovating firms in the industry increases immediately following the dominant design, and this concentration decreases over time throughout the era of incremental change. Findings imply a pattern of contraction and expansion in the era of incremental change that extends previous work on the technological product life cycles and helps to characterize the era of incremental change in a novel way.
Business Administration, Management, and Operations
Lee, Jaegul and Berente, Nicholas. (2013). The era of incremental change in the technology innovation life cycle: An analysis of the automotive emission control industry. Research Policy 42(8): 1469- 1481. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2013.05.004