Jump to the next curve. Or die.

Earlier, ice was gathered from a frozen lake and transported to the households to cool perishable food. This procedure was possible only in the winter and only near a lake. In 1870, the first ice factories were developed. Suddenly, water could be frozen in one place and then delivered to the customers.

With this procedure, the spatial and temporal restriction was lifted. In 1930, refrigerators were finally developed for private use. All restrictions were lifted. Everyone had his or her own ice factory at home. The interesting part in this development is that none of the first ice suppliers founded an ice factory. And none of the ice factory owners became a refrigerator manufacturer. Although everyone had the same promise of performance, the business model was further developed with the help of new technology. The new technology replaced the old technology with its life cycle curve.

This is similar in most companies. An innovation on the next curve revolutionizes an existing market or creates a whole new market. At some point, there are new technologies, trends, etc. that companies often miss since they do not anticipate the next curve. Most companies develop and die on same “curve”.

How can companies recognize the “next curve”? Can big companies ever survive the step to the “next curve” successfully? If they can, how? What does open innovation contribute to the jump from one technology curve to the next? And what obstacles must be overcome on the way to the “next curve”?