One of the most famous ways to answer ‘what is disruptive innovation?‘ and which is often cited and told to others, was the decision Steve Jobs made when he took the keyboards off his cell phones and put in their place a screen that not only displayed high definition images but obeyed the commands of the user when it was pushed.
The world has changed, and quite drastically since that happened!
But what is disruptive innovation, anyway?
- All the innovations of the iPhone, if taken separately, were not innovations, they already existed.
- The change was simple, but its consequences were quite complex.
- Change has created a new product category, something entirely new.
- Products that previously occupied this consumer territory were immediately obsolete.
- Whoever didn’t “imitate the innovation” disappeared or crept stubbornly and staggeringly along (see Blackberry).
But enough clues! What is disruptive innovation? To understand a little better, let’s watch the Steve Jobs anthology video introducing the world to his iPhone and a new era of possibilities:
Disruptive Innovation, the iPhone example:
Prophetic Words: From time to time a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything!
What is disruptive innovation? Find out now!
As much as you bring your team together and employ the most innovative brainstorming techniques, look for ways to use the famous blue ocean strategy to distance yourself from competitors, or blow your mind thinking of process innovations, disruptive innovation will not suddenly appear right in front of you.
There is a whole change management process that can help you find incredible disruptive innovation, as in the example above.
Pay attention to Steve Jobs’ comments: This is the moment that I anticipated 2 years ago!
But let’s take a few steps back: what is innovation?
“It’s the only way to turn change into opportunity.”
And, according to Clayton Christensen, the answer to the question “what is disruptive innovation?” is found in this sentence:
“Disruptive innovations are those that bring about a break in the anti-business model. They usually favor the appearance of new entrants. “
Another important disruptive innovation, for example, was the introduction of CDs instead of K7 tapes.
The differences between disruptive innovation and traditional innovation
Disruptive innovation is not revolutionary, because it does not overturn the established order, but introduces a novelty that fits perfectly into this order and that many people want but don’t have.
Disruptive innovation is not evolutionary either, because it does not signify the next step of something that already existed, but a different and better way of doing something that many needed, but did not have.
Traditional innovation is sustainable and incremental because it gives improvements to a product that already exists. Disruptive innovation is high risk because it is related to change.
Traditional Innovation vs Disruptive Innovation
- Current Customers vs New Customers
- Smaller Investment vs Higher Investment
- Short Term vs Long Term
- Lower Risk vs Higher Risk
- Predictable Return vs Uncertain Return
- Adds Value vs Creates New Value
- Improves vs Creates
Controlling the risk of disruptive innovations
Every change involves risks. That’s why you need to find a solution to your business process that will lessen the time-consuming threats required to develop innovation, physical space for teams and facilities, and the most critical: the marketplaces perception of value.
Analyzing and managing these risks plays a key role in introducing disruptive innovation in the marketplace.
Here are some important steps:
- Predict and “plan for failure”
- Make decisions based on past experiences in project management
- Use up-to-date and transparent information for decision-making
- It’s necessary to define a new business model
- This business model must be difficult to imitate, to ward off new entrants
To emphatically summarize everything we have seen so far, we can answer the question of ‘what is disruptive innovation?’ in these words:
Something that did not exist, but that everyone needed. Something that now exists, and that nobody knew they needed.
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