In today’s business environment, disruption is the name of the game. Everyone wants to be a disruptor because they know that to become an industry leader in today’s economy, they have to turn the industry on its head.
But for all the claims that companies are disrupting the business world, there are many that simply reinvent the wheel. True disruption causes a radical shift, whether it’s via a new product, service, or process that solves a longstanding problem in the industry.
Disruption changes the whole business landscape. Businesses that create true innovation quickly become market leaders, and both new and established players quickly have to follow suit.
Disruption Empowers Consumers
The most powerful thing a company can do to disrupt business-as-usual is to challenge its competitors through consumers. They identify a genuine need or pain point for consumers and find an innovative way to solve that problem.
Digital real estate marketplace Nobul has taken on a massive industry using this model. As Founder and CEO Regan McGee explains, “We created the world’s first open and digital marketplace where every real estate agent from every agency can compete against one another to represent buyers and sellers. So if you’re looking to buy or sell real estate, you could come on our platform, put in some basic information about yourself, and agents from all the different brokerages will compete against one another to represent you.”
It’s a model that’s giving consumers more information about real estate agents, including a clear picture of the services they provide and verified reviews, and it’s putting downward pressure on the fees involved.
Disruption Uses Innovative Technology
The way toward disruption, more often than not, lies through new, innovative technology to deliver a superior product.
When Netflix was first founded in 1997, it was a subscription service that mailed out DVDs, which arrived in iconic red envelopes. It was an innovative idea that challenged Blockbuster and did away with late fees.
But in 2007, Netflix leveraged new streaming technology to deliver content directly to TVs and computers, no DVD necessary. Content streaming would change the entertainment industry forever, while Blockbuster would file for bankruptcy.
Disruptors find the right technology at the right time and apply it to a business model that changes consumer expectations forever.
Disruption Means a New Way of Doing Things
Not every disruption has to be a new product or service. Sometimes companies change the industry by doing things differently.
In the 1990s, Nike introduced the recycling program Reuse-A-Shoe following a number of scandals around its sourcing and manufacturing process. Instead of fighting the hit to their reputation, they launched Reuse-A-Shoe, which transformed millions of old sneakers into valuable materials.
The company also became a founding member of the Organic Exchange, a network of organic cotton farms addressing cotton’s high pesticide use and significant water consumption.
These programs ushered in an era where corporate responsibility is increasingly under scrutiny. Now, even investors are looking for companies that take environmental responsibility seriously.