What is Disruptive Innovation
Disruptive innovation, or disruptive innovation, is a term coined in 1995 by Clayton Christensen to describe what was happening in the corporate world. This term refers to the effect that an innovation can have on a market, capable of destroying established companies in favor of new emerging realities, which until then had been neglected by companies already present on the market.
Since then, his theory has been accepted, understood and applied by numerous organizations, helping to create hundreds of new companies generating billions of dollars in revenue. Let's see better what is the meaning of disruptive innovation and why Christensen's contribution has been essential to the corporate world.
According to Clayton Christensen, “disruptive innovation describes a process by which a product or service powered by a technology enabler initially becomes rooted in simple applications at the low end of a market, since it is typically less expensive and more accessible, and then moves inexorably towards the high-end market, eventually displacing established competitors”. This theory was explained in an extremely succinct way by Christensen in the last interview given before his death to MIT Sloan Management Review.
The effect that disruptive innovation has on the market has been studied in depth by Christensen, who highlighted how, often, the largest and most established companies, while being able to meet the needs of their customers, fail to innovate and keep up with the market. In this sense, disruptive innovation has the potential to give birth to new companies, which exploit new technologies to create products or services that are better, more convenient or simply different than those already on the market.
Furthermore, disruptive innovation can be viewed as a process that takes place in three phases: the introduction phase, the growth phase and the maturity phase. In the introduction phase, the innovation is brought to market and used by a niche of consumers. In the growth phase, innovation spreads more and more until it reaches a critical mass of consumers. Finally, in the maturity stage, innovation becomes an integral part of the market, replacing established products or services.
To conclude, disruptive innovation has been a key factor in the success of many emerging companies, which have been able to exploit the potential of new technologies to create new, innovative products or services capable of satisfying the needs of their customers. Christensen's theory has shown how disruptive innovation can be a powerful tool for value creation, capable of radically changing the way companies are conceived and managed.