Darwin and the Demon Summary:

Submitted by: Laura Whorton, Tobi Popoola, Chang Shu, Kyle Hardy, Hassan Almutlaq
Edited (idea 3) by: Panyavilay Victor Rattanavong


1.) Early market: lots of press and glamor,
- technology enthusiasts want the “next thing”
- pragmatists hesitate wondering if it’s going to succeed.

2.) The Chasm:
- an aging market that has lost its early glamour,
-a pained pragmatist might help it get to the main stream
- hasn’t made the mainstream yet so pragmatist hesitate to purchase
- Good way to move forward is to target niche markets

3.) Bowling Alley:
- after some innovation the product is gaining pragmatist support and niche markets are holding on to the product, but those outside the niche markets don’t really know about it
- As each niche accepts the product, related niches become more likely to accept as well

4.) Tornado:
- the technology has proved itself and now everyone wants it
- investors are bidding up the stock and sales are skyrocketing

5.) Early Main Street:
-the initial surge in the mainstream market has ended yet the technology is still growing at a constant rate

6.) Mature Main Street:
- the technology growth has flat-lined and people take it for granted
- Customers are focused on seeing small improvements to the current product

7.) Declining Main Street:
-customers are being forgotten and new technologies are being developed by other entrepreneurs and are on the verge of the Tornado

8.) Fault Line/End of Life:
- the technology is no longer useful
- bigger and better things are out and it’s only a matter of time before it can’t be produced anymore
- Leveraged buyouts become popular options


1.) Sustaining Innovation:
- a sustaining innovation is improving the performance of existing products along the dimensions that mainstream customers’ value.
- The knowledge required to use this new innovation is based on existing knowledge

2.) Disruptive Innovation:
- disruptive innovation appears in the market in new business strategic as cheaper and simpler for all different types of people.

3.) Radical Innovation:
- radical innovation is inventing new products that is related to technology, that completely replaces an existing one
- The knowledge required to use this new innovation is not based on existing knowledge
- Must be market oriented to determine when to introduce (and develop) radical innovations. If one introducing too early, the new innovation may kill current profitable products or introduce before consumer is ready for the market. Develop and introduce too late, another competition has beat you to the market

Discussion Topics/Questions

Idea #1
In what ways are the following products/companies experiencing similar or different stages of the product life cycle? How has the internet affected the response time the companies have to react to a new innovation in their industry; and how can they adapt their behavior to avoid the “fault line” as expressed in Darwin and the Demon?
• iPod Touch, facebook, Netflix

  • Facebook is in the Mature Main Street phase of the product life cycle. The tornado effect passed once the application became an expected attribute for consumers. The surge from the mainstream market has ended with the opening of facebook for all users and not just those with .edu email accounts. A new or obsoleting technology is currently not on the horizon for facebook.
  • Currently the IPod touch is in the mature main street phase of the product life cycle. This is because the iPod touch is just an evolution of a product that has been around for long time. The IPod touch has been around for a lot longer than the competitors, who have just followed Apple with their design and technology, such as the Zune from Microsoft. The IPod touch went through the tornado stage where the technology has already shown its usefulness and as such has become the standard for many products.
  • Netflix is in the declining main street stage for their movie mailing directly to customer’s homes. They are improving their business by dominating through the online streaming segment with DVD players, TV sets and game systems using the internet. Also Netflix is in the tornado stage that makes other competitors imitate what Netflix does. An example is Comcast which has then ability to upload their TV programs online. Netflix is using disruptive innovation to attract their customers by introducing new business strategies and cheaper alternatives for their customers.

Idea #2
Apple is a common example when describing how to “defeat the demon” as presented in Darwin and the Demon. What other examples exist? What have they done to survive?
  • Honda motors is an example of how to beat the deamon. They have not had great success with there rescent hybrid offerings (insight, accord) due to both mileage and segment. Toyota has a stronghold ont he hybrid commuter market and leaves little room for others. As such honda has decided to take a different route and design the first hybrid car that is sporty. Based off of the iconic crx, the CRZ is a harken to yester-years that made honda famous. The CRZ is a new segment that is un-tapped. The new CRZ defines Hondas brand image for the future. They are realizing that the industry is changing to a more green emphasis, so going green on there sports cars is a natural progression and puts them as a leader in this category.
  • Another example is IKEA. IKEA as a company is in the maturity stage of the life cycle but has been able to stay relevant, fresh, and new by introducing new types of their products. They have also expanded world-wide and on the web to reach a larger consumer base and have left little room for competition to get an edge. They also have adapted their stores to make them more user friendly and focused on the customer by adding the restaurant, market place, and child care area. With their competitive edge solid in the market, they have taken to putting on elaborate and creative marketing schemes to keep their name present in the minds of the public. Two great examples of this are their installations in the subways in Paris and the 100 cats in Wembley, UK.

Idea #3
What has the Atkinson Graduate School of Management doing to innovate its program in order to provide a cutting edge education to its students and benefactors?
  • The Atkinson Graduate School of Management has implemented numerous initiatives to differentiate itself from other MBA programs and build a unique "MBA Brand". For instance, had the school took the conventional approach of an MBA program, spoon-feeding students academic theory all the way until graduation, the school can simply not expect to compete with the multitude of business schools with a stronger brand in the mainstream rankings. Instead, Atkinson has distinguished itself among other things, by building a curriculum platform based on experiential learning and other pragmatic elements. Overall, one could surmise that the aforementioned strategy is classified as being innovation of a process of service delivery, in our case, delivery of educational services. The Darwin and the Demon article notes that process innovation involves taking an established practice and making them more effective or efficient, the Atkinson MBA program is certainly doing this by enhancing the MBA delivery process while at the same time building a competitive distinction in the market place for MBAs.

Links to related content: Blue Ocean Strategy

Link to Intel article summary