Effective Life of an Innovation

The period of time from the introduction of an innovation to the market until half the competitors in the market offer that innovation as part of their products and services.


Function innovations to products are quickly copied in the farm equipment industry. An industry expert who has been in the business for 35 years asserted that comfort innovations (functions associated with the driver's comfort) are copied within five months. Electronic innovations, such as computerized radar that adjusts the engine to the changes in the terrain, are copied within a year. Mechanical innovations, such as a four-wheel drive tractor, are infrequent, and can take up to three years to duplicate. (Year 1993-SIC 3523)

Explanation: Each of these innovations are function innovations, and most of these innovations are copied within a year. The exceptions to this rule are mechanical innovations.