Friday, May 11, 2012

The S-Curve

I would like to take the time to explain the concept of the Innovation S-Curve. As you can see below the concept of the S-Curve is used to determine performance in regard to time or effort. These are extremely important due to the fact that understanding where you are in regard to this system determines how you should proceed in regard to innovation strategy. It can also assist you in understanding your current risks and how to avoid certain pit-falls common to products or services in certain phases of maturity.
Technology Life Cycle: the “S” Curve
Technology Life Cycle: the “S” Curve

Now if we look at the same S-Curve in the context of innovation in regard to an industry or product  we can see that there exists four major stages of innovation. These are Ferment, Takeoff, Maturity, and Discontinuity.
Industry Life Cycle as an S curve
Industry or Product Lifecycle  as an S-Curve

  • Ferment - This is the when a product or industry is completely new. A dominant design has not been recognized and competition to create the dominant design is fierce. 
  • Takeoff - If a dominant design has been determined and the innovation crosses the chasm of death you will see a rapid period of growth as the innovation moves towards full market acceptance. 
  • Maturity - The product or industry has become a completely accepted by the general public and has matured. It is at this point that only a few large players exist and the markets are clearly defined. This is also the point when products become completely standardized and the products are less and less unique.  
  • Discontinuity - Once a product has reached maturity it runs that risk of being discontinued by newer technologies a great example of this was the transition from film cameras to digital cameras. 


  1. Hi
    Thanks for the description
    When it is in the Maturity stage if product is fully standardized then how dose the product because less and less unique ?
    Isn't it should be more and more unique ?
    For example Ethernet cards it standardize and more or less the same thing around the world?

  2. More unique would mean the the products are more unique to one another. By standardizing they are no longer unique hence the term less unique. A great example of this is a 9v battery. The only piece that is really unique in a standard 9 volt battery made by Duracell as compared to one made by Energizer is the color. This makes them less unique. I hope this clarifies things.

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  4. Great share!!! it was detailed research thanks for it. S-curves are an important project management tool. They allow the progress of a project to be tracked visually over time, and form a historical record of what has happened to date. Analyses of S-curves allow project managers to quickly identify project growth, slippage, and potential problems that could adversely impact the project if no remedial action is taken. Best Primavera Training
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