Kodak and its film-based cameras were the classic incumbents: a traditional, respected company offering a high-quality product to a mass market.
Then came digital cameras. Film companies laughed at the poor shutter speed and fuzzy images of early digital cameras.
The photos weren’t great, but digital cameras better addressed the user’s primary need: to capture and share moments. It was easier and cheaper to take a digital picture, download it onto your computer and email it to many people than it was to buy film, print dozens of high quality photos at a shop.
When the inferior and cheaper digital product became “good enough” for customers, it disrupted the incumbent.
Digital cameras seemed poised to own the market. Then came flip-phone cameras. They offered even lower quality photos. And digital camera companies mocked their grainy images. But again, users opted for a lesser product that was more convenient. They’d rather have a “good enough” camera in their phone then lug a better but bulky digital camera. When the flip-phone camera became “good enough,” it disrupted the incumbent.
Monday, May 19, 2014
When “Good Enough” Is Good Enough
A case study from the New York Times’s “innovation report”: