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The innovator’s dilemma revisited: The Home Communication Concept (HCC)

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The case described in this article is based on an innovation project at Ericsson Denmark. Theproject has been called the home communication concept (HCC), and represents the responseof a major ICT manufacturer to the reshaping of the telecom market, paved by internettechnology. The project is described from its start in summer 1997 to the end of 2001. This isa unique case study in more than one respect. The first author followed the project veryclosely during his employment in a new business development department (BDD) at EricssonDenmark. Secondly, the study covers all phases and aspects, from inception to field trials.Thirdly, it represents a radical innovation based on a disruptive technology (Internettechnology), which transcends the traditional business of the company in question. The paperdescribes the entire project, and tries to present it within a framework capable of analysingthe actual events. In this respect, it not only demonstrates the classical dilemma ofmanagement during disruptive technological development, but also illustrates the internalproblem of allowing a creative BDD to become 'sectarian’, i.e. blindly believing in itself andsuspicious of the rest of the world. Using the framework presented in this paper, several fundamental concerns regarding existing research are identified and discussed. In closing,implications for research and management are addressed.

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Arne Stjernholm Madsen, John P. Ulhøi

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