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What is ‘disruptive innovation’? [Innovation]

What is ‘disruptive innovation’ theory?

‘Disruptive innovation’ can be defined as the innovation that originates in low-end or new-market footholds and it doesn’t catch up on with mainstream customers until its quality catches up to their standards. Disruptive innovations are considered inferior to existing products at initial stage. Good examples of ‘disruptive innovation’ are Starbucks which provided a different set of values for users in coffee industry and the Ford’s T Model that displaced horse-drawn carriages.

The following are regarded particular characteristics of disruptive innovation.


Firstly, disruptive innovation creates a new market by providing a different set of values that existing markets do not offer. Disrupters build business models that are different models that are different from incumbents


Secondly, disruptive innovations originate in low-end (cheaper and convenient).


Thirdly, disruptive innovations tend to be produced by startups, not by existing market-leading companies who are mostly focused on the improvement on the existing products and services.


Fourthly, disruptive innovation is higher risk associated than incremental or evolutionary forms of innovations as its process can take longer to develop than by the conventional approach.


Lastly, once disruptive innovation is deployed in the market, it achieves a much faster penetration and higher degree of impact on the established markets.



Author – AJPOP Consulting Julia Shin



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