Advances in technology are constantly changing the way we live, work and interact. Brands and companies like Airbnb, Netflix and Uber, all synonymous with being disruptive, are constantly causing shockwaves throughout their industries due to their forward thinking ideas and digital innovation.
These disruptors are using digital technology to create a unique customer experience, which has led to some unbelievable and admirable stories of success.
Where did it all start?
Disruptive innovation is a term coined by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen in 1997, though the actual process has been around much longer. It is defined in the Harvard Business Review as “a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses.”
Disruptors identify gaps in the incumbent business or industry and then transform the market with game-changing innovation, overtake the market, succeed, and become the new world order.
Some great examples of disruptive innovation throughout history include:
- The digital radio, which is overtaking the analog radio
- The telephone, which overtook the telegraph
- Cell phones, which have mostly overtaken home phones and land lines
- Self-driving cars, which are being set up to overtake human-driven cars
In 2017, disruptive apps we know and love have taken similar paths. Even though Netflix launched back in 1998, it was in 2007 that the company came up with the revolutionary idea that would change its fortune and the way consumers watch everything. With its DVD-by-mail rental business faltering due to competition from Apple, Walmart, and Amazon offering digital downloads, Netflix launched the radical concept of streaming movies directly to customers’ computers, eliminating the wait time and hassle of receiving and returning discs via post.
What Netflix and the other great disruptors have triumphantly succeeded in, is not only exceeding the needs of the customer, but also having the foresight to change the customers buying behaviour and more importantly, enhancing the customer experience.
Ultimately, being disruptive means changing behaviour or peoples’ habits or taking risks to change the game long-term.
What can we learn from the best disruptors?
In an ever-changing global landscape, no market stands still. All businesses need to anticipate and adapt to change. Consider the humble Blockbuster, had they anticipated and adopted the digital strategy that movie renters were crying out for, perhaps the now iconic ‘Netflix and chill’ phrase would have never been coined.
The 5 principles detailed in the infographic below, could help to identify and shape where in your business or industry you can have the most impact, how disruptive technologies or strategies can enable you to approach new opportunities, or how you can better connect with your customers and stakeholders.
Click here to view our work