|Software Architecture and
"Definition of Dominant Designs: After a technological innovation and a subsequent era of ferment in an industry, a basic architecture of product or process that becomes the accepted market standard. From Abernathy& Utterback 1978, cited by A&T 1991. Dominant designs may not be better than alternatives nor innovative. They have the benchmark features to which subsequent designs are compared. Examples include the IBM 360 computer series and Ford's Model T automobile, and the IBM PC." From http://economics.about.com/library/glossary/bldef-dominant-design.htm
In "Changing the Dominant Design" (Automotive Design and Production, http://www.autofieldguide.com/articles/090001.html) Gary Vasilash points to the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) as an example of a dominant design that is being challenged.
The Wharton class on dominant design is a good introduction, with illustrative examples. See http://www-management.wharton.upenn.edu/pennings/coursedocuments/WEMBA_courses/Class1Introduction.ppt#285,2,WEMBA, Class 1