Disruption And Its Impact 

What is Disruption?


Disruption in terms of definition and meaning, can be thought of as problems or a disturbance which interrupt an event, process, or activity.  Synonyms for disruption include among many others, words like dislocation and disarranged for instance.  As can be seen then, the potential exists for disruption to be found virtually anywhere, in an unlimited number of different situations.  Bearing this in mind, it is necessary to classify the type of disruption involved- in the case of our site for instance, we are purely focused on disruption as it relates to business.


A note pad, pen and some screwed up paper


Business Disruption


So what is Business Disruption? Before going further, we should make clear, we are not talking about disruption in the sense of an organisations' ability to deliver services or products are usual. I.e perhaps there was a shortage of certain components, for instance that meant production had to be halted. Our focus here is instead on Business Disruption caused by disruptive innovation. This occurs when a new product or service is introduced that does something new, or better than something which currently exists in a market; to the extent that its introduction, over time drastically alters the existing market and in turn creates a new one. 


Of course..if Business Disruption was that simple to explain there wouldn't have been the need to create a whole industry around the subject, would there? Yet where there is a need, there can also be an opportunity to over-complicate; so then those complications will need to be explained. To avoid this we stick to looking at the fundamentals of what causes business disruption, the key factors and how it impacts us all. 


Examples of Business Disruption


Looking at some examples of Business Disruption can make it easier to see why the effects of disruption can be so profound.


For instance, consider the Microwave oven. Originally used in a commercial setting, due to the size and price constraints of earlier models. Over time the product evolved- becoming much more affordable and compact. It then became available for home-use and of course totally revolutionised the way that food was prepared in the kitchen.


This whole ongoing process was obviously a major disruption to the market for standard ovens; and it also opened up new markets. Beyond the appliances themselves though, there was of course the effect this had on the food industry, as it created a sizeable expansion in the ready-meals sector.  Yet further to what the Microwave ultimately did for home cooking, it also directly changed the way people lived their lives; freeing up extra time for people to spend in other ways.


There are of course many other examples of business disruption that can be looked at, and in each case key similarities will be found. 


Our current concept is a good example of business disruption, but more specifically Digital Disruption, in that it is specifically concerned with disruption related to the digital world. The concept allows digital video ads more effective from the point of view of attracting new customers and sales. Until now, it seems the user has largely been taken for granted by the ad platforms and brands, which is perhaps why most users resent having to suffer through ads that are both intrusive and annoying to most people. We have created a concept that returns greater control to the user in terms of how they are served with video ads..which at the same time increasing the ROI (return on investment) enjoyed by the advertiser. We are currently looking for a development partner, to share in ownership of this concept.


What Facilitates The Disruption?


Business Disruption is facilitated or enabled by among other things, advances in new technology and automation that offer significant improvements over past processes, systems or methods of carrying out a task. Advances in the Sciences and communications, transportation and energy infrastructure also play an important role. In the case of the Microwave oven example above, its creation was facilitated by a technology able to produce very small electromagnetic waves that heated food by causing molecules in the food to rotate.  The process is of course a lot more involved than this, nonetheless it hopefully shows how the final disruption has to have been enabled by something.


Of course underneath and in advance of these new emerging technologies is a whole universe of discovery and knowledge. Newer market entrants are able to create specific cutting edge applications from these discoveries. If successful, they can then introduce key products and services to established markets, and can as a result, enjoy a significant advantage over industry incumbents. This all leads to business disruption, which of course has to be addressed and managed as effectively as possible. 


As it happened, the initial discovery of the potential of Microwaves to cook food came about by accident. An engineer was working on a radar set, when he noticed the Microwaves from the radar had melted a chocolate bar he had in his pocket! 


These and similarly important developments or discoveries, serve as an underpinning on which disruptive innovation can occur. Where savvy innovators can, create new products or services with sufficient consumer appeal and impact to change a market. Of course, this all attracts investment in the new products and services designed to serve an ever more expectant and demanding marketplace of consumers.



The Pace Of Disruption 


Business Disruption is now increasing at its fastest pace at any point in human history. This is being driven primarily by the ongoing disruption itself; since improvements in systems, processes and infrastructure are not static variables. They are of course dynamic and become smarter as they continue to evolve over time. This evolution which is a continuous process in turn creates still further opportunities for innovation-and investment,  which in turn leads to a yet more disruptive environment.  Add into the mix continually increasing consumer expectations and demands which also help drive the cycle of disruption.


Where Does It Come From?


The most likely source of business disruption is liable to be a new entrant in a market, rather than a well established organisation. This is mainly because new entrants to a market are innovating based on the capabilities of relevant infrastructure and technologies as they exist today, or will exist tomorrow- which is also exactly where the Consumer is too. So follows the investment and backing for these newer market entrants along with the talent they are able to attract. 


This is not always the case for more established organisations, where key parts of the business operation have been structured, perhaps around less responsive, less versatile legacy systems and technologies. Given the obvious fact that it is the people that do the actual innovating- there can be little wonder why most disruption occurs in the way it does.


Despite the above - business disruption caused by new products or services originating from more established players in a market is also significant; it is just not as significant.

When it originates from within an organisation, perhaps it is driven by a need to diversify, or uncover new opportunities for growth; or even a need for the organisation to reinvent itself or its brands even. Whatever the reason, most pundits will argue that disruption is a good thing.


This is even though of course organisations planning to introduce a new product or service offering, liable to disrupt a market, have ultimately been making an investment in an uncertain future. Further, many organisations have of course adapted their operating models and processes to ensure that they are still able to compete effectively against disruptors who enter the market.



Early Business Disruption 


From the early days through hundreds of years, the disruption paradigm above served as an engine of growth- for development and innovation, yet at a much slower pace.  As nations became increasingly industrialized, so increased the speed at which technology was created and new products were introduced to the markets concerned.  These and other momentous shifts in the paradigm opened the way for production and consumption on a grand scale. As new opportunities for increasingly open global trade emerged, so too did the level of innovation and investment.  


Early Business Disruption was evident at a time, when yes of course business leaders understood their businesses and markets; yet they weren't forced to manage their businesses, against the nebulous backdrop that exists today.  In the past it wasn't necessary to consider the multitude of factors or forces, that influence the business operation and planning needs of today. 


This was a time when people needed things, so companies made them; and consumers bought them. When companies created newer, better versions, consumers bought those too. No real need to worry about disruption management.Yes, new products, processes and systems were introduced to markets and taken up at an increasingly rapid pace. Often generating a good deal of disruption to boot; yet depite this, the rules of the game back then were more logical and simple to understand.



More Recently



In relatively more recent times, Business Disruption became a more complicated and complex variable to understand and manage. This as commerce and trade itself evolved and expanded in scope and reach and complexity. There was of course an ongoing and growing need for businesses to better understand the environment in which they operated. This, to allow better planning for future success at reduced risk . Bearing in mind that overtime disruption activity had increased significantly across all industries. Obviously this increased still further, with the advent of computers, so many new forms of automation and the dawn of the Digital Age proper.


Managing business Disruption


As is now widely known, Business Disruption is playing an ever greater part in commerce today. Organisations must find new ways to both manage this disruption, and exploit it where possible for their own benefit.  For any existing business, generating a pipeline of new ideas that can satisfy increasingly demanding consumers is essential. Often the biggest threat or competition to a business can come from those companies new to the market. New companies that have well researched, well financed highly attractive offerings.


Managing this disruption is of course not easy- and it is made more difficult still by the fact that we can't know what we don't know. Yet what we do already know is that attack can be the best form of defense. Especially when it comes to protecting market share, consumer loyalty and the bottom line. So being proactive in terms of the generation of new ideas of potential value to the organisation is a great initial step. As is creating a structure and process to select the most viable ideas, for concept development, testing and production if appropriate.



More on Disruption Management


What used to be back in the day, a more structured and thorough approach to innovation and the development of new products and services will no longer suffice. The need for faster decision making, in all aspects of delivering on the value chain has lessened the reliance on risk averse strategies, that may once have provided for adequate growth targets for a business. Disruption brings many unknowns and hence does not sit easily with successful operation of any business, which of course must still manage risk if it is to survive. 


Disruption has cast its long shadow over the entire business world. Making the task of quantifiying the actual performance or competitive position of a business much more complicated yet at the same time more essential than ever.

Managing disruption and its effects and influence on a business however,  pose an array of challenges. Not least of these being the need for an organization to accept the new reality- and to be willing to ask some tough questions of itself. 



The need to more fully understand and invest in disruption management  and lessen the impact of disruption on a business has grown significantly. There are countless books on how to better manage disruption, and of course videos, seminars, workshops and educational courses have been created to satisfy this clear objective. Of course there is also a whole industry full of professional advisors and consultants, ready to offer their services.


However the issue is approached the need for all organizations to develop a Disruption Management Plan has never been more essential. Whether this is disruption from within existing organisations operating in a given market or from new entrants and Start-up businesses. In any eventuality, it brings with it both challenges and opportunities. The stakes are higher than ever before and increased risk must be accepted as a given as decisions are made in shorter time frames often with less supporting data. 



No One Ideal Way To Manage Disruption


Some will say there is no one ideal way to manage disruption. Preparing for continual disruption will emerge as a theme in reading about the subject. As will the need for organisations to slow things down, and ask tough questions about how existing products for instance, compare to those of the competition. This with a view to making improvements or adapting existing or future plans. There will be much advice on trying to find new ways of doing things..breaking the mold as it were. The idea of setting up innovation teams, and creating a culture if possible company wide that is always challenging the status quo.


The Challenge Disruption Presents


The space in which many businesses now operate is filled with a multitude of often conflicting forces or factors; these are both internal and external in nature. They must be considered in order for senior management to plan effectively.  These include:  policies for  adoption/integration of new technology. Then there is company structure, level of agility,  adoption of teams, overall culture , HR and the ability to attract new talent to consider. Customer experience management and research,  customer loyalty, supply chains, social networks, sales, marketing ,consumer demand/trends, productivity, innovation strategies, pricing and profitability too.  Now, to handle the above (and we left out a lot obviously), businesses employ very smart people to make plans, crunch numbers and work things through. 


Yet of course in business nothing happens in a vacuum. The real challenge then is to manage the more specific elements of a business yet also try to account for the often unseen effects of disruption. How does a variable that is so difficult to quantify impact the business operation as a whole? Afterall..disruption can't be ignored.


Success Or Failure?


Success or failure is often determined by how well an organisation can manage the risks involved. These are risks both in taking action but also non-action in a certain situation; or in light of a certain condition being present. Despite this many organisations are now increasingly willing to embrace Disruptive Thinking as an integral part of the company's culture. Disruptive thinking alone of course is not enough- it is simply one part of the overall picture.



Disruption And The Overall Picture



So what is the overall picture? It is being able to strategically leverage Disruption to increase and sustain business growth. This, whilst easy enough to perhaps conceptualize, requires buy-in and resource allocation from Senior Management. Cultivating an environment where ideas can be explored; resulting concepts can undergo incubation and testing to consider viability.  


As organisations more fully accept the increasing importance of managing disruption in their marketplaces, the need to realign internal innovation strategies naturally follows. This in turn creating the need for more disruptive ideas and concepts that can be tested and developed into new products and services if justifiable.   Ironically, in the midst of so many new and sometimes unseen influences on a business,  the term disruptive innovation is liable to perhaps offer a degree more certainty than at first it might suggest. 



Our Own Disruption Ideas and Concepts 


At Disruption Ideas, we are all about the kind of ideas that have the potential to change markets and even the way we live our lives. Disruption Ideas are very different from the kind of ideas that spark everyday innovation, in that they are truly transformative in nature, rather than simply being just another iteration of what had come before.


A key purpose of our site is also to introduce our own ideas and concepts. In terms of of how we spend our time: We create a very limited number of new concepts, that we think have the potential to offer a major advantage to a company in a related market. Look at us as a resource that is able to supplement a companys' internal idea and concept creation efforts. 


Whilst it is true that disruption ideas are defining the pace of business innovation- the individual ideas that create the disruption are of little value simply as raw ideas. Once however, they have been through the innovation process and entered the market it is a very different story. At this point there is a seismic shift in effect, away from how things had been, yet at the same time the new product or service still fulfills the original need.


Disruption itself is an element of market dynamics that business leaders have had to contend with for a very long time. Yet the pace of disruption is increasing, meaning that the companies serving a market, now have to keep a much closer watch on developments in their market and their competitive position. 


As we will outline in more detail on our site, the Disruptive Ideas themselves and the resulting new product or service concerned were liable to have been conceived from sources external to the existing market.  Potentially offering much to the existing base of consumers- over and above the currently available products or services. Overtime, more and more consumers will leave the original market behind as they adopt the newer offering. We discuss this process, known as disruptive innovation and the impact it can have on existing companies. 


We understand some of the challenges facing businesses, as they try to come up with the next best thing in an effort to fend off the disruptive pressures posed from new market entrants or Start up businesses.


The confidential aspects of any ideas and concepts we generate are only made available under Non-Disclosure Agreement,  to parties we ascertain as being likely to have a genuine interest.


The ideas and concepts we create have at their core, simplicity. Afterall, what would be the point in coming up with the most marvelously disruptive ideas - with the potential to offer exponential growth, if those ideas required a big redesign or shift away from currently successful practices employed by a company?  This is of course one of the main challenges faced by incumbents..the need to ensure, any innovation can be effectively and realistically achieved.  


Business  afterall, is not an experiment- it results primarily from a successful mix of  knowledge, opportunity and resources. So at the end of the day a company would never take on any idea or concept that represented undue risk to current operations, however much the idea promised. It has no need to do so.


Therefore we limit our potentially disruptive ideas and concepts- to those that could theoretically at least, be relatively easily introduced alongside existing products or services.   Our work is not limited to any one industry, here is our latest UX Adtech concept CASPAD, should you wish to take an early look.


Other Disruptive Ideas


We will soon open up an area of our site that will showcase other ideas we find that feel are likely to create disruption in the markets concerned. These could be ideas that are now fully fledged products or services; or other ideas that may or may not be in search of funding for instance.  This proposed section of our site is also likely to be open to companies wishing to promote their own ideas to gain further exposure.


Until we launch this new area we will highlight any ideas we think are noteworthy, in advance below. On this point, one that recently became known to us, was actually a book. The book is called thinkwich and was designed to allow families, with an elderly relative who may be suffering the early effects of age-related cognitive impairment better prevent cognitive decline. The reason we think this particular book stands out as being disruptive, is largely due to the fact it was written by a trusted contributor to this site; we have a good insight into the reasons behind the specific format chosen and why it is markedly different from other resources currently available. Since the release of thinkwich, the core elements of the book have been republished on Amazon under the title Cognitive Health of an Elderly Parent.