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Sources of Innovation: Invention of Light

Can you map the different kinds of innovation in the case study? Which were incremental and which radical/discontinuous? Why? Give examples to support your answer.


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In the case study, the evolution of light is discussed, from "the early days of putting simple wicks into congealed animal fats" to the development of LEDs. Different kinds of innovation can be seen. Incremental innovation, in which progress is steadily made in an area of low uncertainty (building upon current technology), with a focus on cost or feature improvements in the existing product (Kotelnikov, n.d.) This can be seen as the wicks in animal fat evolved to candles and oil lamps, building upon brighter light, easier or safer use. Radical innovation, in which new technology was explored, occurred with Humphrey Davey inventing the carbon arc lamp. This is an example of radical innovation since it explored a new technology, offered a product that was previously unavailable (utilizing a carbon arc; bringing new use for product) so thus had a high level of uncertainty. It was introduced into the marketplace without the certainty that it would be readily accepted and put into use. ...

Solution Summary

This solution maps different kinds of innovation, identifying which were incremental and which were radical/discontinuous and why in a case study regarding the invention of light.