Who doesn’t want a better way to apply ketchup to burgers and fries? Isn’t it ideal to have a cab waiting for you, rather than you waiting for the cab? How convenient is it to change your vacuum cleaner bag? Any number of giant food companies could have been first to market with the ‘dip and squeeze’ ketchup packs. They all were aware that the traditional ketchup packs which had been around for the last 40 years were inconvenient at best. They also knew there had to be an easier way to apply ketchup to fries and burgers. Heinz was the first to do something about it. Taxi companies were aware that people found waiting for cabs frustrating, but did nothing to change the status quo. However, a small company launched five years ago is turning the taxi industry on it’s ear. Uber connects riders to drivers via an app on a cell phone or mobile device, making it convenient and easy to request, ride and pay. Many companies could have been first to market with a bagless vacuum cleaner. They all knew how messy it was for the consumer to change bags. But Dyson inventor James Dyson believed there was a better way and set about to find it. His simple secret to success: “People buy products (services) if they’re better.” It took an industry giant like Heinz, as well as smaller players like Uber and Dyson to respond to those needs and bring about change. The kind of change that disrupted entire markets. Today the ‘tried and true’ is obsolete, or soon to be. What is new today is boring tomorrow. Innovation must be a continual process. A process that revolves around strategy, talent, process, and execution. Following are some characteristics of disruptive innovations:
- Starts with a purpose and a small problem rather than just a big idea.
- They almost never begin with just designing a product — they always begin with the customer’s story.
- Thrives on creating difference first.
- Leverages data to get closer to customers.
- More responsive to the customer’s behavior and needs.
- Connects the disconnected.
- Begins by changing a small group of people.
- Creates value where none existed.
- Seems obvious only after the fact.