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Six Chasms in Need of Crossing

The gulf between visionary early adopters of new technologies and the pragmatists who make up the mainstream technology market was made famous by Geoffrey A. Moore in his book "Crossing the Chasm." But strategists who focus on that chasm alone will miss others that loom ahead and present significant challenges. In "Six Chasms in Need of Crossing," Babson College associate professor of marketing Anirudh Dhebar calls attention to the other gaps that business leaders must bridge if they are to implement new technology and achieve long-term success in the marketplace.

Dhebar argues that changing business models can be as difficult as crossing the chasm between early and mainstream markets. This may also be true when moving from an existing technology to one that is improved but incompatible -- or from an existing technology to one that is not initially seen by current customers as an improvement (what management educator and author Clayton Christensen calls a disruptive technology). Transitioning from a product created as an expedient, short-term fix for a customer problem to a product designed to be a strategic, long-term solution is another potential imperative

However, it is the chasm between established ways of thinking and fundamentally new business paradigms that is perhaps the most pervasive. Dhebar encourages managers and academics alike to take account of the broader spectrum of chasms, and he provides guidelines for crossing the chasms impeding technological progress and marketplace success. The guidelines include encouraging imagination in order to see and embrace alternatives to current realities, giving new ideas a fair hearing, working with suppliers of complementary products to build the infrastructure to support new kinds of products -- and developing markets that value the performance and value proposition of disruptive technologies.

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