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Technological disruption is one of the most powerful ways to achieve market dominance. Technological
innovations that disrupt industries are often brought about by the smaller startups who have the
willingness to try something new, have budgetary constraints to make innovation a priority and the
hunger to do what it takes to venture into the unknown. But why is it necessary to disrupt an industry?
Why can’t businesses continue maintaining status quo and doing business as usual. The answer to this
would help us unearth the fundamental reason why organizations go to that extra length to come up
with innovative ways of doing business and delighting customers.

Why is technological disruption necessary?
As the name suggests, any disruption interrupts businesses and market. It causes discomfort to the
status quo, forces customers to change their habits, threatens business survival and brings a permanent
change. Why is it that something which unsettles the entire ecosystem, is so eagerly pursued by a lot of
startup companies? Why is disruption still such a cherished endeavor and why are organizations so
eager to come up with disruptive technologies and business practices. The answer to this predicament
lies in the long term benefits that disruption provides not just to the pursuer but to every stakeholder in
the ecosystem.

Some of the benefits of disruption are:

  • It is a large scale improvement
  • Initially, customers may be hesitant to adapt to the newer way, but the convenience a disruptive
    practice brings, convinces them gradually
  • Makes business processes more efficient
  • Technological Disruptions often provide easier and cost effective ways of delivering superior
    value to customers
    GRAPHICS (shows the above benefits in bullet points)
    Hence, disruption is one of those necessary evils that helps businesses leap forward.
    Elon musk once said, “I could either watch it happen or be a part of it.” But we say, what if there was a way to initiate it? Organizations are constantly looking to build competitive advantages that are hard to imitate. Implementing a disruptive technology could just help one do that. Yet it is one of the least adopted business strategies by established players in any segment. Some of the common reasons mentioned for this road less taken are the amount of risk involved, time and resources spent, success failure ratio and the (most important of them all) mindset required to disrupt status quo.
  • On the other hand, are the small players who swear by this strategy and commit all of their resources in pursuit of disruptive technologies to create massive ripples in their market. This is how Amazon disrupted the publishing industry, Airbnb became an instant hit in the hospitality industry and Wikipedia established itself as a credible player among the behemoths in the encyclopedia sector. The list of successful disruptors is very long. However, it still isn’t a very popular business move. The reason for this is an equally mind boggling fact about Technological disruption. A lot of companies are able to scale their disruptive practices but there are many others who fail to make a success out of them. These are organizations who invested their resources in search of the next new, built it and launched only to have hit a wall.
  • This is where the next step in the implementation of a disruptive strategy (which is often given almost
  • no focus) becomes critical.
  • It is to evaluate if the market is ready to embrace the disruption
  • Ways to identify the if the market is ripe for disruption
  • Disruptive technologies are not an easy find. They require tremendous amount of focus, energy and
  • time without any guarantee of success. However, it is not enough to invent a disruptive practice. The next stage is to identify if the market is ready for it. Many times in the past, there have been disruptive technologies and products launched without checking the preparedness of the market and the result was an absolute rejection by the market and customers. Be it the jet powered aero trains developed in France during 1965 to 1977 or the picture phone created by Bell Labs in 1960s or even the Henderson Streamline motorcycles of 1930s – none of them could take off despite being innovations that had the potential of disrupting their industries.
  • Conditions required for a disruption to work Loopholes in customer experience journey – Mapping the customer experience journey is often the cornerstone of any disruption. It is this map that highlights the unmet needs of the customer, the inconvenience caused to him (her) (and often ignored by organizations) and his (her) changing preferences. These become the guiding stones in unearthing the next level of experience that might delight the customer of the future.
  • Evolving technological landscape – If the overall technological infrastructure in the society
    is evolving to the extent that it would be able to support the disruptive technology, then
    that signals that the market is getting ready for the next new thing!
  • How close is the new experience to the current set of habits of customers – It is important
    to evaluate the new experience that the disruption would create for the customers through
    their lenses. Change is hard for anyone. If an organization brings in a disruptive technology
    in customer experience, it better be more convenient, deliver superior value and aim to
    make their lives better. Online shopping resulted in a drastic change of habits for customers
    but it slowly gained huge traction because of the ease it provided without compromising the
    quality of products.
  • The ecosystem around the disruptive technology – The disruptive technology should have
    an entire ensemble developed around it to support and make it sustainable. As per Peter M
    Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline, Wright Brothers proved in 1903 that powered flight
    was possible but it was only in 1935 that commercial air travel began with the launch of
    McDonnel Douglas DC-3. The intervening years were about creating the entire support
    system so that the invention of Wright brothers could actually become commercially viable.
    This is the case with every disruptive innovation.

Graphics (shows the above points in bullet points)

It is not just enough to come up with an innovative technology. Businesses also need to evaluate the
market preparedness for it and if required, then help it become ready. We are no more dealing with
change. Businesses now have to deal with a differential rate of change. Technological disruption is going
to be far more common and frequent for every sector because of the huge advantages it confers to the
initiator. The only changes that organizations are left with – disrupt or face disruption. Which side are
“If you are trying to disrupt the status quo and beat bigger competitors, you are not going to do it by
playing their game” – Dharmesh Shah,

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