Do you know what disruptive innovation is?
No, I am not talking about every start-up trying to disrupt their industry.
I am talking about the original theory of disruptive innovation, as outlined by Professor Clayton Christensen in his groundbreaking Harvard Business Review article in 1995.
This was the theory which described how small upstart companies can take market share away from the large incumbent companies in a market, by delivering a new offering which may be inferior to that of the incumbent (such as by having lower perceived quality or total features), but attractive to a subsection of the customers (such as by being a lower price, faster or easier to understand and implement).
And as part of their “4 Business Ideas that changed the World”, the HBR Ideacast podcast has just released a fantastic podcast episode going through the history and impact of the theory of Disruptive Innovation.
You can learn more about its history, the huge impact it made in the world of innovation management and strategy, and the challenges it originally faced (as well as continues to face to this day).
The podcast includes discussions with three current experts on Disruptive Innovation:
- Rita McGrath, professor at Columbia Business School and who we have had on the Idea to Value podcast previously
- Felix Oberholzer-Gee, professor at Harvard Business School
- Derek van Bever, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School
Listen to the podcast episode here.
What I especially liked about the discussion in this episode was how the three experts discussed not just the history of the theory, but also its challenges when it comes to real-world application.
For example, it very succinctly outlined why management at the established market leading corporations may not realise they are being disrupted since their KPIs show they should focus on their largest, most profitable clients.
But also, how one of the recent challenges to the theory is whether disruptive technologies take away market share from incumbents, or instead bring in new customers to the market who were previously non-consumers.
If you are involved in innovation, or just want to understand how customers choose products, do yourself a favour and listen to this podcast today.
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