Friday, August 01, 2008

Innovation by Imitation - Toyota Imitates Segway

Toyota today announced a series of products that resemble Segway – called Toyota Winglet. See the picture below:

Also see how it resembles Segway

With this release – Toyota seems to be making a bold statement – it is seeing a new need for personal transportation, which is pollution free and relatively faster than walking. At the same time, Toyota has improved upon the Segway. Segway was introduced with great fanfare in 2005, and since then the product had no updates & the sales was languishing – which is typical of any “alpha” release.

To succeed, Toyota winglet needs a significant improvement over Segway in terms of performance and battery life. Since we have not seen any real devices yet – it is best to wait and watch.

This form of innovation is common in Japan & Korea. Japanese & Korean companies thrive on imitation as form of innovation.

  1. Imitation as Innovation

  2. Imitation to Innovation: The Dynamics of Korea's Technological Learning

For more information see:

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