Disruptive Innovation: A Negative Name for a Positive Force

Disruptive Innovation: A Negative Name for a Positive Force

Like Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, thriving in the tech industry is all about

survival of the fittest! The “fittest” technologies are ones that make products more

convenient, accessible, simple, affordable, and available to a larger or new population

of consumers. Such technologies are called “disruptive innovations.”

Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen created the theory of disruptive innovation in

the 1990s. It describes what happens when an existing technology is one-upped by a

new one. Although the term “disruptive innovation” has a negative connotation, it is only

the product’s competition that suffers from that disruption. The customers – the majority

– always benefit.

Apple was welcomed disruptive innovation in the 1980s. Computers were around at that

time, but the average customer was not about to spend two hundred thousand dollars

for one! Apple came along unexpectedly and made the technology smaller and more

affordable. They were a positive force in the computer industry, and we’re still seeing

those effects today.

Every corporation, including Apple, has to pay close attention to their competitors. Like

in evolution, new, bigger fish will always come along and if the original fish don’t adapt,

they’ll lose customers or worse, get completely replaced! In an ideal situation the

competitiveness caused by an evolutionary product will eventually transform into

cooperation between rival companies. When industries are “disrupted,” everyone

eventually benefits.

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