What Are Disruptive Ideas?  A Look At The Dilemma They Create



There is so much online about creating Disruptive Ideas, and how important and essential they are to business success; in that they are the central part of the process of Disruptive Innovation itself. We also acknowledge the obvious value in these ideas, and the potential they bring to the organizations developing them.  Despite this, we wanted to take a closer look at the overall challenge, that of an established player in a market actually creating truly Disruptive Ideas. We look at the dilemma faced by these organisations - ie the need to maximise profitability through successful innovation- in a market where clearly new disruptors can see exponential growth.


What Are Disruptive Ideas?


So, let's consider the question. The obvious answer is that they are ideas so impactful- that they transform the market; and in doing so create a new market for the product or service concerned. This is of course true, and so it is also important to remember there is a distinction between the phrase disruptive ideas and  potentially disruptive ideas.


The ideas only become disruptive following the innovation stage itself.  Until then they are just ideas. I.e before the necessary research, design, testing and production phases have all been completed- they can't really be called disruptive ideas. Then there is the need for the idea to have also changed the market and created a new one too. 


It kind of makes the whole game a little less likely to have been lost before it's even begun eh? Before even having got to the stage of market impact and consumer sentiment etc. Obviously there is a danger of oversimplifying the whole matter, by how we are laying out our observations; as organizations of course have fully capable, interconnected teams in order to carry out the job of delivering on the current and future growth objectives of the business.Yet words matter.


Words Matter


Yes words matter. They matter to people who follow and invest in markets, manage companies, and their shareholders. With all the hype and talk of disruptive ideas that hit the market and change/create a company's fortunes seemingly overnight.. it's easy to see how expectations could become misaligned with some undeniable realities.


Realities such as the fact that the best potentially disruptive ideas are those coming from a start-up or new entrant to a market; where enormous investments have been secured, from venture or other investment sources highly capable of knowing an amazingly good thing when they see it. So they are willing to invest and play the long game if needed- knowing that if the idea it truly likely to be market changing, then this of course wouldn't happen overnight.



Should these organisations try to create Disruptive Ideas?


Is it really an effective and worthwhile goal for an established organization to pursue a path in the hope that it will lead to a market changing, breakthrough concept; so impactful that will as a result create a whole new market?  This effect of a new market being created is of course a commonality found in disruptive ideas. If the answer to this question is deemed to be yes.. was it then the case that other questions may not have been central in the relating decision making process? 


Questions such as:


  • If someone internally was going to come up with something truly groundbreaking why haven't they as yet?
  • If a company has been using the same general approach for Research and Development (R&D) for a number of years without significant adaptation, are the practices employed really aligned with the changed nature of tomorrows' challenges and consumer expectations?
  • Is the organisation really prepared to invest at the levels needed to fulfill such a goal, i.e financing the research, testing,  development  and production?
  • Over what time frame..and what are the risks- if the company is not first to market for whatever reason?


There is no doubt that in certain markets and industries what is being discussed here would not apply. Every business is of course different as is each market, yet we believe that our observations here would apply in the case of the majority of truly disruptive ideas. 










or you can find out more

about disruptive ideas here.


Also here are some real world examples of Disruptive Innovation