Even in existing paths new ‘unthought-of’ solutions are possible – new forms can be developed precisely because of the limits to the existing paths.
The key lies in learning processes: “How much learning is permitted? How much learning is stimulated?”
Example: Japan’s slow uptake of e-commerce was related to a lack of ‘general trust’. Working within this ‘path’ a different form of e-commerce was developed which relied on using convenience stores as payment and pick-up points. This innovation found success outside Japan, particularly in Asia.
Example: Japan’s slow uptake of the internet provided DoCoMo with a way to increase content on their mobile devices – by making them able to read websites.
Source: Storz, C. (2005). Path dependence, change, creativity and Japan’s competitiveness. Working Paper No 7, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden. ; Beck, J. and Wade, M. (2003). DoCoMo: Japan’s Wireless Tsunami.