Date of Conferral







Craig Barton


According to the Abernathy-Utterback (A-U) model, firms focus on technological product innovation early in the product lifecycle and then shift to process innovation as markets mature. However, there is no consensus on the forms that non-technological innovation can take. In addition, the A-U model, which guides innovators, does not include forms of non-technological innovation that are generally accepted by experts. In this study, a hybrid e-Delphi technique with an AHP decision model was used to evaluate the forms of innovation used to establish market leadership over the historical lifecycle of the personal computer industry in the United States. In Phase 1, an e-Delphi panel of 30 technology experts, each with more than 20 years industry experience, confirmed that product, process, marketing, and organizational innovation are the correct forms to consider. In Phase 2, the expert panel agreed, based on an analysis of 45 years of market leadership data, that market share leaders used product innovation early in the lifecycle, and then process innovation as the market evolved. The expert panel also determined that marketing and organizational innovation were the most important forms of innovation when the market was mature. This research provides new insights that have the potential to aid innovators in choosing the right form of innovation depending on lifecycle stage. The results could also be used as a baseline to extend the A-U model to other forms of non-technological innovation. This is an essential piece of knowledge that can guide the next generation of innovators, create significant additional wealth, drive job creation and employment, reduce crime, and increase charitable giving.