Is Disruptive Innovation Dying?

by Lolita Foster, Senior Content Developer, West Cary Group

In the aftermath of CES 2015, my friends and I were having a spirited discussion over several bottles of Chianti, and the question was proposed: Does disruptive tech innovation exist anymore?

We meant that truly imaginative, out-of-the-box kind of thinking – as revolutionary as the Model T (or, some might argue, the assembly line) and the wheel. An “innovation that helps create a new market and value network by a) disrupting an existing market and value network and b) displacing an earlier technology” if you want to get technical with definitions. The elusive stroke of genius for inventors and the object of desire for marketers.

One of us would construct an idea, only to have the others quickly tear it down. There were the easy ones – iPhone and Facebook (and, to a larger extent, social networks). But Uber? A transportation network sustained by a mobile application that harnesses the power of real-time data? Useful. Good idea. But hardly cutting edge. Square? A portable credit card reader that pairs with smartphones and tablets? Clever. Handy. But revolutionary? Meh.

I began to question why it was so difficult to think of modern disruptive innovations.  Then I read West Cary Group Vice President of Account Services Camille Blanchard’s latest blog, Think Small to Go Big: A Futurist’s View of Effective Marketing in the Modern World, and I believe I found my answer.

It has something to do with access, applicability and awe.

 A New Way Of Working: Access

 With the rise of the consumerization of technology, barriers to innovation have been broken. Over the past several years, opportunities for tech development have slid solely from the possession of the enterprise into the eager hands of consumers. What was once feasible only for developers armed with an extensive technical education to create is being borne by the common man via applications like Mobile Roadie and Buildfire.

This means that whatever we need to use to get the job done, we have only to fashion it ourselves. Today, we have greater access to powerful IT tools, and the ability to dictate product and service design is the power that comes with this entrée. As a consequence, user experience and value creation are now at a premium and enterprises have been compelled to take note of the changing tide.

As Blanchard stated regarding product creation and innovation, “We have to think not only about what we can build, but what the consumer wants us to build.”

Next Week, Part Two: Don’t Tell Us – We’ll Tell You

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