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Disruptive technology

The term disruptive technology was coined by Clayton M. Christensen[?] to describe a new, low cost, often simpler technology that displaces an existing sustaining technology.

Disruptive technologies are usually initially inferior to the technology that they displace, but their low cost creates a market that induces technological and economic network effects that provide the incentive to enhance them to match and surpass the previous technology.

Examples of successful disruptive technologies:

Examples of sustaining technologies:

Not all technologies promoted as disruptive technologies have actually prospered as well as their proponents had hoped. However, some of these technologies have only been around for a few years, and their ultimate fate has not yet been determined.

Unresolved examples of technologies promoted as 'disruptive technologies'

  • Music downloads vs. compact disks
  • e-Books vs. paper books
  • e-commerce vs. physical shops

Failed technologies originally promoted as 'disruptive technologies'

  • make list here



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