Innovation is the process of creating new products, services or processes that meet the needs or wants of customers or society. Innovation can be driven by two different forces: technology push and demand pull. Technology push refers to new technologies being developed and applied to existing or new markets. Demand-pull refers to the situation where the market needs or customer preferences stimulate the development of new technologies. Both forces can play a role in innovation, but they have different implications for innovation’s nature, speed and direction.
Technology push is often associated with scientific discoveries or breakthroughs that create new possibilities for innovation. For example, the invention of the transistor in 1947 enabled the development of various electronic devices, such as radios, computers and mobile phones. Technology push can also result from incremental improvements in existing technologies that increase performance, efficiency or reliability. For example, advances in battery technology have improved the range and durability of electric vehicles.
Technology push can be a source of radical innovation, which means creating products or services significantly different from existing ones and offering superior benefits to customers or society. Technology push can also lead to disruptive innovation, which means creating products or services that challenge or replace existing ones and create new markets or industries. For example, digital cameras disrupted the film industry by offering a cheaper and more convenient way to capture and store images.
However, the technology push also has some limitations and challenges. First, a technology push can be risky and costly, as it requires a lot of research and development (R&D) investment and may not result in successful or profitable innovations. Second, technology push can be disconnected from market needs or customer preferences, as it may create products or services that are too complex, expensive or incompatible with existing systems or habits. Third, technology push can face resistance from incumbents or regulators who may perceive new technologies as threats to their interests or norms.
Demand-pull is often associated with market opportunities or customer problems that motivate the development of new technologies. For example, the demand for clean energy sources has stimulated the development of renewable technologies, such as solar panels and wind turbines. Demand-pull can also result from customer preferences or expectations changes that create new needs or wants for products or services. For example, the demand for personalization and customization has stimulated the development of online platforms and tools that allow customers to design their own products or services.
Demand-pull can be a source of incremental innovation, which means creating products or services that are slightly different from existing ones and offer marginal improvements to customers or society. Demand-pull can also lead to sustaining innovation, which means creating products or services that maintain or enhance the performance of existing ones and satisfy existing markets or industries. For example, smartphones are sustaining innovations that offer more features and functions than traditional phones.
However, demand-pull also has some limitations and challenges. First, demand-pull can be reactive and short-sighted, as it may focus on satisfying current needs or wants rather than anticipating future ones. Second, demand-pull can be constrained by existing technologies or resources, as it may not be able to create products or services that meet all the desired criteria of customers or society. Third, demand-pull can face competition from other innovators who may offer similar or better solutions to the same market needs or customer problems.
|Driven by||Scientific discoveries or breakthroughs||Market opportunities or customer problems|
|Focuses on||Creating new technologies and applying them to existing or new markets||Creating products or services that meet the needs or wants of customers or society|
|Can result in||Radical or disruptive innovation||Incremental or sustaining innovation|
|Risks||– It requires a lot of R&D investment and may be risky or costly|
– May be disconnected from market needs or customer preferences
– May face resistance from incumbents or regulators
|– May be reactive and short-sighted, focusing on current needs or wants|
– May be constrained by existing technologies or resources
– May face competition from other innovators offering similar solutions
|Examples||Transistors, digital cameras||Solar panels, online customisation platforms|
In conclusion, technology push and demand pull are two different forces that drive innovation. Both forces have advantages and disadvantages for innovation’s nature, speed and direction. Therefore, successful innovators should balance both forces and leverage their synergies to create products or services that are both technologically feasible and market desirable.