Strategy and Management of Technological Innovation
E Ink Case Study Analysis
Bronikowski, Jasinski, Yoder
February 10, 2012
E Ink is an attractive investment for venture capital. The company has a skilled management team that has proven able to overcome the complex technical issues of commercializing an emerging technology. As a result, E Ink’s current film technology is well positioned to become the dominant design in markets where E Ink has large market shares and high revenue potential. E Ink should focus its future development strategies and resources on improving and expanding the capabilities of its existing film technology to achieve dominant design status. In addition, E Ink should secure Intel Capital
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E Ink’s future development strategy should enable it to take advantage of this opportunity. The case identifies a number of competing technologies. LCD technology appears to be the current dominant design, but its performance improvements are incremental (e.g. cost, power consumption, etc.), which indicates that the technology is entering the latter portion of the S-curve where efforts to improve the technology will not be commensurate with performance improvement. This signifies a diminishing competitive advantage if a new, better-performing substitute becomes available. Conversely, E Ink’s technology is improving by an order-of-magnitude every 2 years with no signs of slowing down (Exhibit 9) and production is stabilized. These are indicators that E Ink is entering the growth segment of the S-Curve. In addition, E Ink is performing better than LCD technology and other emerging competitors in the categories of cost and power consumption (highly desirable for certain applications where color is not a design requirement, such as e-books). Therefore, the display industry is arguably going through a period of discontinuity during which the market will shift from use of LCD technology to an emerging substitute. Figure 1: Display Industry Discontinuity illustrates the discontinuity in display technology for the period in question.