Conjectures about future wants: some insights from evolutionary economics with reference to digital photography
Inappropriate conjectures of how customers will see new products can result in poor sales when strategists venture into uncharted territory. Here we try to show how evolutionary economics, broadly defined, can help managers make better conjectures. We first examine the implications of consumers choosing to buy products on the basis of hierarchical checklists for product characteristics rather than making trade-offs between characteristics in the manner often assumed. We then examine how strategic myopia and a misunderstanding of the role of product standards can arise because managers are blinkered in their understanding of the context in which consumers make choices and use products. When firms move from a product based on one technology to a product based on a new one, the role of product standards may change completely. Our analysis is illustrated throughout with examples, with special attention paid to the case of Kodak and the development of digital photography.
International Journal of Technology Intelligence & Planning