Working at a startup sounds great. But it can get confusing too, especially in the beginning. If you don’t always have a clue of what your colleagues are talking about; you’re not alone. From now on, don’t just nod friendly when terms like ‘unicorn’ or ‘pivot’ come up. Every week we’ll explain a common startup-expression in our Startup For Dummies. This week: disruptive technology.
Disruptive Technology or Innovation is innovation that’s disrupting or replacing an already existing and established market. It can shake up the industry or changes the way society is used to doing something. A good example of a disruptive technology is the computer. When the computer made its introduction it completely replaced the typewriter in the late 1980’s. But also cell phones disrupted the entire telecom industry at the end of last century.
Disrupting whole industries is not limited to big technologies like the computer and the cellphone. It can also be ground breaking solutions from particular companies that are changing a market or society in general. According to Clayton M. Christensen, who coined the term, disrupting happens as follows: When big companies are focussing on sustainable innovation and higher paying costumers, there’s a large group of costumers that want low-cost alternatives. The entrepreneurial company has a basic offering for this audience. While the big companies begin to over-serve by adding extras nobody is wiling to pay for, the new companies are improving their product and take over.
// a few simple examples
- Uber – makes private transportation less expensive and easier
- Amazon – takes in-store shopping to online shopping
- Netflix – changed the way people watch television
- AirBnB – disrupts the hotel business
Do you want to learn more? Check the article from Harvard Business review or watch their animation.