“Hybrid technologies [can] help companies survive disruption and shape the future,” so writes Nathan Furr and Daniel Snow in their November 2015 Harvard Business Review article entitled The Prius Approach. A hybrid technology is one which incorporates some aspects of the new and disruptive technology into the current, existing technology. Farr and Snow go on to outline seven types of hybrid strategies that can be employed, depending on the urgency of the disruptive threat, to buy your firm time to learn, adjust and respond fully. These are valuable approaches and the authors provide real examples of each hybrid strategy, along with a process for implementation. (They describe the hybrid gas/electric Toyota Prius car of 1997 as a example of a “bridging” hybrid strategy).
Nevertheless, they conclude with a warning that “the vast majority of hybrids will be stopgaps of some sort” and as such “these hybrids [should] be treated as experiments, and not permanent new businesses.” Failure to use the afforded time and knowledge to develop a more complete and competitively viable response to the disruptive threat can be fatal.