Many use the term disruption and disruptive innovation interchangeably with any type of new, hot innovation or innovative solution. Let’s understand the difference between innovation and disruptive innovation – the difference is key to how we look at new technology and systems plus how we approach our own desire to innovate.
Clayton M. Christensen coined the term disruptive innovation in 1995. Recently in HBR he noted:
Many researchers, writers, and consultants use “disruptive innovation” to describe any situation in which an industry is shaken up and previously successful incumbents stumble. But that’s much too broad a usage.
Ok, so we know we are using the term too broadly and perhaps limiting ourselves by not thinking about what real disruption is all about. Fortunately, Clayton clears this up for us and gives plenty of food for thought:
“Disruption” describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses. Disruptive innovations are made possible because they get started in two types of markets that incumbents overlook:
– New-market footholds, disrupters create a market where none existed. Put simply, they find a way to turn nonconsumers into consumers. [Think Netflix – People who didn’t rent movies by visiting Blockbuster now jumped on the chance to have them show up at their door!]
– Low-end footholds exist because incumbents typically try to provide their most profitable and demanding customers with ever-improving products and services, and they pay less attention to less-demanding customers. [Think Airbnb – offering customers who traditionally couldn’t afford a hotel room a place to stay.]
Thinking about wearable health technology, Mark Benden, PhD (associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and director of the Ergonomics Center at the Texas A&M School of Public Health) talks about the continuing growth of innovation that started with wearables. This includes the #DeepLearning and #AI technology that is picking up speed and momentum as we speak:
Of course, as technology itself becomes more human-like, it may be able to motivate people on its own. “When we learn to use these devices in a way that responds to someone as a person and caters to their individual needs, it will be very powerful.” “The technology will know you and be able to help you make healthy choices in whatever way works best for you personally.”