Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms

721 Words3 Pages
The concept of architectural innovation was first proposed in this paper, where Henderson and Clark felt that the categorization of innovations as either incremental or radical was inadequate. They defined such innovation as:

[Architectural] innovations … change the way in which the components of a product are linked together, while leaving the core design concepts (and thus the basic knowledge underlying the components) untouched.

This means that architectural innovation involves rearranging components ( various known parts) in a system, and linking them up in new ways. Henderson and Clark are of the opinion that such innovations may threaten established organizations –

It destroys the usefulness of a firm’s architectural
…show more content…
Given the constraints of the available data set and the length of the research period however, the authors did a good job in reconciling possible differences by using the secondary data to corroborate and supplement the primary sources, thus portraying a fairly accurate picture of the industry’s evolution.

This paper illustrated the concept of architectural innovation presenting established organizations with threats that could significantly impact them through an empirical study of a single industry. The effects of innovation on this industry could perhaps be extrapolated to other industries. Further research applied to other industries, as recommended by the authors, would widen the scope of the sample and eliminate any possible biases or industry-specific aberration and help develop a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of innovation on industries in general.

In a knowledge-based economy, horizontal and vertical transfer of knowledge can be said to be a common feature. This may be attributed to the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions, a highly mobile workforce, and the increased interdependency between firms and industries. It might thus be timely for future research to focus on the impact of innovation in such a climate, vastly different from that in the 1980s.

The paper discussed the why and how of established firms losing their competitive edge;

More about Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms

Get Access