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The Negative And Positive Sides of Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation brought us cheaper products or services as those of the big chiefs of industry. But is that all that it brought us? A few years ago, Jill Lepore, a professor of American history at Harvard, attacked the assumption that disruption is a positive in itself. Throughout the ages, people have commented on the dual nature of every circumstance. Think of “two sides to every coin,” “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and any other phrase that explains this very same phenomenon. Think of the Internet as a great example. We are all aware of it and, if you are reading this, you are most likely connected to the Internet right now. The Internet brought with it a way to communicate with your ‘not so nearest and dearest.’ It brought a completely new way to generate revenue and, with a few keystrokes, you can access information about any subject you can think of. But it is not all moonshine and roses. Terrorists and other nasties use the Internet to spread their agenda and coordinate with any member anywhere in the world. A completely new way to be a criminal has been born and we call these individuals, “cyber criminals.” Sadly, that is only two ways that the Internet is used for heinous acts but we will stop the analysis right here.

It is therefore safe to assume that disruptive innovation is not only positive but not only negative, either.

Let us look at the positives first:

More accessible, affordable products or services for the general public.

In a world where most people are not nearly as wealthy as the rest, you will often find a product or service to be off-limits to this vast majority because of the price tag that comes along with it. Disruptive innovation is changing this. For example, AirBnB brings affordable lodgings to the general public. Innovators see a gap in the market, sometimes by simply understanding the needs and wants of consumers. These bright individuals find a way to offer an agile solution at more competitive prices than those offered by the older and larger companies, and thereby capture the market.

Entrepreneurs have better options.

As any entrepreneur will tell you, there will always be an element of risk involved in any endeavour. But if you come up with a truly disruptive innovation, and can efficiently manage the risk, you will take the world by storm and build your own legacy, creating better jobs and generally making a positive impact on the lives of those in your community.

And now, the negatives:

In all contests, there is a winner and a loser.

This statement is especially true if you are not the aforementioned entrepreneur and, instead, the CEO of a well-established business. Disruptive innovation can have a negative impact on your business if you do not take action immediately. The truth is that there are always indicators of change that will affect your business. Good Risk Management practices, supported by efficient Risk Management tools, are vital for the health of your business, especially when faced with disruptive innovation.

Entrepreneurs have to keep hustling.

Even a start-up that radically changes the face of an industry will not be able to stay afloat if the entrepreneurs rest on their laurels. This mentality may easily take root in the minds of successful entrepreneurs, who should instead forget the term, “disruptive innovation” altogether and keep working hard.

To consumers, disruptive innovation sometimes means “starting over.”

Are you old enough to have collected LP records back in their heyday? CDs changed all of that in the 80s and, suddenly, you had to collect all of your favourite albums again while your beloved LPs gathered dust at the back of your closet. Fast forward to today, when we find that CDs and their DVD cousins are joining the LPs at the back of the closet. Digital copies of music at a low price brought to us by iTunes and Amazon, and the ability to stream movies and television shows using affordable subscription services such as Netflix, have once again turned the entertainment industry upside-down.

You have now seen both sides of the same coin—where do you find yourself? If you are the entrepreneur with a business model that will revolutionise an industry, you see the positive side. RUBiQ will be able to support your strategy and help you to address the obstacles you will face along the way, ensuring optimal positive gain for you. Contact us right away, if you would like more information.

However, if you are the owner of a business faced with the negatives of disruptive innovation, you will need to maintain and improve the health of your business. To do so, you will need to implement Risk Management practices, supported by Risk Management tools. Unfortunately, manually updated spreadsheets do not allow for centralised risk data and can do more harm than good. You may even run the risk of working with outdated data. This is where RUBiQ comes into play. We can help you to implement the correct structure so that you are not only aware of the upcoming disruptive innovations in your industry, but we will prepare you for these innovations making it very difficult for them to overthrow your company. You can use the form on Contact Us for a speedy reply.