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Chapter 3. Managing Technological Evolution > The Role of Dominant Designs

The Role of Dominant Designs

Another important issue for you to consider in managing the process of technology evolution is that many new technologies converge on dominant designs, or common way that all companies producing a product will design their version, and that convergence dramatically changes the nature of competition in an industry.[6] The internal combustion engine in automobiles is a good example of a dominant design. All automakers produce vehicles with internal combustion engines. The alternatives of steam-powered engines that once existed are long gone.

Dominant designs matter to you, as a technology entrepreneur, because the way in which firms compete depends largely on whether a dominant design exists. Technology evolves through periods of incremental change, interrupted by radical developments. During periods of incremental change, one design is dominant in an industry. A radical development ushers in an era of change in which many designs compete. Ultimately, a convergence on a dominant product design occurs.[7]


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