Technological substitution is the process by which disruptive technologies replace the dominant ones in an industry. Such paradigmatic shifts have a great effect on the strategic planning. The formulations of classical models of diffusion and substitution impose simplification constraints to reach analytical solvability. We use the System Dynamics methodology to build upon existing models by integrating dynamic aspects derived from a broad theoretical framework and to explore the links between social dynamics, technological developments and substitution patterns. Our simulation model generates a substitutive drop in the life cycle: a “Sydney opera” shape which is not replicated by classical models but which is substantiated by empirical data from the successive generations of DRAM. The generic structure can generate the dynamics of a sailing ship effect and account for the non-uniformity of interpersonal communications. The more general theory embodied in the model allows to better understand the underlying dynamics of technological substitutions.