1 min read

What is Disruptive Innovation

The theory of disruptive innovation was created by Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen in his research on the disk-drive industry and later widespread with his book The Innovative Dilemma, published in 1997.

Disruptive Innovation is the phenomenon by which an innovation transforms an existing market or sector by introducing simplicity, convenience and accessibility where complication and high cost are the status quo. When a niche market is already out of date (or keeps steady, without growth or news) and seems uninteresting or irrelevant, it is surprised by a new product or idea that completely redefines the industry. In this context, a disruptive innovation happens.

Personal computers were disruptive

A classic example is a personal computer. Before the arrival of the first PCs, mainframes prevailed in the computing industry. They cost a lot of money and it took engineering expertise to operate them. Apple, one of the pioneers in personal computing, began selling its first computers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but as a toy for children. At that point, the product was not good enough to compete with mainframes, but Apple customers didn’t care because they couldn’t afford the big computers.

PC was much better than their alternative: nothing at all. Little by little, the innovation improved. Within a few years, the smaller and more accessible personal computer became good enough to do the work that previously required mainframes. From then on, a new and huge market emerged, which finally replaced big computers.

“It’s important to remember that disruption is a positive force. Disruptive innovations are not breakthrough technologies that make good products better; rather they are innovations that make products and services more accessible and affordable, thereby making them available to a much larger population”, diz Christensen.

Completely different markets are already impacted and transformed by the most different disruptive innovations.

Watch the explanation of the Disruptive Innovation father:

To learn more about how to implement innovation culture in your company, download our ebook “Innovation Lab”.