In many industries, one general product design dominates. Design might have evolved slightly over the last decades, but not fundamentally.
A major reason is that dominant players have low incentive to change once the market is at maturity. They invested once. Now, the cash-cow design should be milked. Another reason is that norms and habits are difficult (and expensive) to alter. The human mind tends to satisfy itself with what he is used to, even if it is suboptimal. I prefer not to tell you how many years it took me to switch from a PC full of bugs to a Mac…
But there is one more reason: the overall context must be ripe for the innovation to make sense to all players.
Let’s look at heavy trucks. They did not change so much since you were born did they? They are heavy and rectangular. And I don’t even speak about US heavy trucks, which are monsters compared to their European counterparts. You can easily imagine their Cx (aerodynamic factor) and the resulting fuel consumption. Actually, more energy-efficient designs were suggested to the industry over the years. However, petrol was cheap. Regulations were not focusing on energy-saving or CO2 emission. What incentive did freight companies or truck producers have to invest in new trucks that solved such environmental issues?
But now that regulations, governmental programs, variable costs and customer mindset all converge in the same direction, time has surely come for the development and easier adoption of a new design.
Success time for an innovation is when all forces converge in the market environment.
Has the time come for yours?