wardell books

Industry Disruptors

Industry disruptors are the innovations that are true business game-changers. They are not simply a new product or service, but an entire unique business model. Often, it is the most successful, stable firms that are negatively impacted by industry disruptors because they do not have the social and technical resources to properly exploit them.

An example of an innovation that disrupted an entire industry is the iPod. When it was released, there was already thriving mp3 player industry. But when Apple released the iPod, it created iTunes where customers can buy music, share music and organize their music on their computer. Combined with marketing and product design efforts, the iPod quickly dominated the entire mp3 player market and forced competitors to drastically lower their prices. The iPod's dominance has been so great that most competitors have exited the market.

For businesses that have been around a long time and have stable sales and market presence, the possibility of industry disruptors is an extremely important consideration. Not only should the entire organization adopt a culture of continuous improvement, the R&D, marketing and sales department should strive to work together and create the value networks that a start-up business would have. That way, the chances of creating (and successfully responding) to industry disruptors will be greatly increased.

If a business simply “listens to the customer” it will potentially forgo extremely profitable and long-lasting business opportunities. The most successful business innovators see what consumers want and need before even the consumer does.

Is your industry susceptible to an innovation that could seriously damage your market share? What would that look like?

What can you do to mitigate against it?

If the sky were the limit for your R&D team, what could they do so that your company could become the disruptive force in your industry?