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Paper Review - Henderson & Clark (Innovation)

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By eldwintan
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Paper Review – Architectural Innovation
Incremental and radical innovation have always been the centerpiece and basis of a company’s innovation strategy. Henderson and Clark (1990) however, attempt to bring another categorization of innovation to the foreground. Termed as architectural innovation, they define it as “innovations that change the way in which the components of a product are linked together, while leaving the core design concepts untouched”. This type of innovation serves to make established architectural knowledge, knowledge of how individual components interact with each other, obsolete.

In their paper, they established that organizations that are deeply entrenched in existing architectural knowledge have high levels of inertia to change when there is architectural innovation. Firms tend to resist such changes due to the high costs for an overhaul of existing systems or their inability to recognize such innovation. Without recognising and acting upon it, established firms may decline despite being the inventor of the core technologies in a system, much like in the case of Xerox. New entrants, on the other hand, have a greater advantage as they are not encumbered by existing but partially irrelevant architectural knowledge. That being said, it is not easy to recognize such innovation since the core technologies doesn’t change and this could lead firms to mistakenly believe that they are able to comprehend the new technology.

This new concept, or rather category, paved a new outlook on technological innovations. Despite being a dated paper published way back in 1990, it still remains relevant till this day. With the unparalleled speed with which companies innovate and churn out new technologies, particularly in the Information Technology and electronics industry, this new way of distinction produce valuable insights. Firms have a greater ability…...

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