Disruptive Thinkers Change Everything

by Jay Deragon on 11/08/2011

When competition can develop better products, better delivery, better marketing and stronger customer relations at lower cost you lose, they win.  Competitors like these are not competitors you already know they are those you don’t know yet.  However they are coming and they will run you over and take your market share at the click of a mouse.

Look at Apple, Groupon or Foursquare. All have launched game-changing products—not by being first to market, but by rethinking the market’s needs. They didn’t just ask, “How can we make a better product?” They asked, “How can we better serve a need?” Interestingly, the need they addressed was often not being explicitly requested by the consumer.

In his book The Innovator’s Solution, Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M. Christensen describes this as addressing “non-consumption.” By offering a product to a specific part of the market that’s not currently buying, you’re not competing with an established incumbent but, rather, creating a new market. And, often, you’re introducing economics that make it difficult for entrenched competitors in other parts of the market to compete.

New Recipes For Wealth Building In A Disruptive World

Paul Romer, an influential economist at Stanford University, defines ideas as “the recipes we use to rearrange things to create more value and wealth.”

The goal for any organization––no matter what the size––should be to generate a steady stream of new recipes––ideas that alter the trajectory of a business and revive stagnant markets or completely reinvent the competitive dynamics of an industry. How do they do this? They simply think differently.

In an article titled Beware the Digital Disruptors: They’re Coming for Your Industry it states: No matter what industry you are in, you are the target of disruptive thinkers.  These disruptors employ technologies — and the platforms they enable — to build better products than you can, establish a stronger customer relationship than you have, and deliver it all to market faster than you ever thought possible.

Because it sounds so easy, a CEO I shared this with asked me why, if digital is so quick and dirty, his company’s website redesign was over time and over budget. I told him it was precisely because he staffed up his business under assumptions about design and functionality that were true in 2005 but are no longer the case. Digital disruption has even disrupted the digital businesses that preceded them.

While digital disruptors are better, stronger, and faster, they are not untouchable. Their ease of entry comes from the fact that traditional barriers have fallen to zero. That means your direct cost to emulate their practices can also be low

To play in a world of disruptive thinkers you have to think out of the box, believe that you can disrupt, understand that simple is better and that you can accomplish anything you believe. Sound crazy? Well you have to sound crazy to become a disruptive thinker. The future belongs to the crazy ones.

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