Disruptive technologies have always been a very dubious concept, clearly promoting further evolution of technological thought, on the one hand, and blocking the development of the current technological advances, on the other side.
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Perhaps, one of the most notorious cases of disruptive technologies affecting the current market and ruining the opportunities of promising technologies to be utilized in the corresponding field, the case of Kittyhawk deserves being analyzed.
Despite the fact that the introduction of the Kittyhawk technology was bound to reinvent the then perspective of what information storage is supposed to be like, it failed because of the wrong timing, the faults in marketing and the lack of competitiveness, which Nintendo made efficient use of.
However, the given failure does not diminish the merits of disruptive technology; instead, it shows that to introduce a technology that will shake the entire world, one will have to think not only the technical aspects of the on-coming revolution but also its economical and financial sides, keeping an eye on the competitors at the same time.
It would be wrong to claim that the concept of Kittyhawk did not have any intrinsic value; quite on the contrary, the idea of introducing a 1.3-inch hard drive to the target market was way ahead of its time and could have resulted in a major success (Christensen 606).
However, due to the faults in marketing, it became a giant flop, which the company swept under the rug as soon as the deal with Nintendo regarding its Nintendo 64 system with a slot for a 1.3” disk drive resulted in a financial discord. The very disruptive technology seemed to have had little to do with the given failure, though; instead, it can be seen as the result of the HP managers’ greed.
Unless the company had demanded so much to be invested into the Kittyhawk technology, the latter might have seen the light of the day. Instead, the HP Company clearly decided to use their innovation as the means to make as much money as possible before the Kittyhawk innovation would be ousted by a more promising and efficient method of data storage.
In hindsight, the HP Company should have tried positioning the Kittyhawk technology in a less pompous way, so that it would not flop even after new and better information storage system would be introduced into the market. Thus, the company would have retained their target audience and make at least some money out of their concept, which, instead, turned into a giant disappointment.
One of the most graphic cases when the attempt to introduce disruptive technologies ail, the example of the Kittyhawk data storage system developed by the HP provides a lot of food for thoughts, mainly concerning the factors that define the success of a disruptive technology.
The given case shows clearly that developing a unique concept is obviously not the only step that it required to promote the given technology as a disruptive one; in addition to the careful consideration of the existing market, its demands, customers and competitors, it is highly recommended that the financial aspect of the promotion campaign should also be introduced into the mix.
Despite having a number of chances to become one of the most efficient data storage systems, for the time being, the Kittyhawk Project plummeted as the HP Company failed to reach a compromise regarding the financial issue, therefore, making it clear that the art of creating disruptive technologies is more than being able to sell innovations.
Christensen, Clayton M. Hewlett-Packard: The Flight of the Kittyhawk (A). Harvard, MA: Harvard Business School. 2006. Print.