Forget Disruptive Innovation: How NON-disruptive Innovation Can Help You Expand Your Market

Many of us are familiar with the concept of disruptive innovation: a new product or service enters the market and overthrows established competitors by fundamentally changing the paradigm. Common examples include the advent of the automobile, the personal computer,  or direct streaming services. But, do we really need to be disruptively innovative?

Do We Really Need to be Disruptively Innovative?

In an article for MIT’s Sloan ReviewW. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne write that it’s not surprising that we have come to see disruption as a synonym for innovation. They raise the question of whether disruption is really the only way to innovate and grow. And, they say: “Our research and analysis over the last three decades suggest that the answer is no.”

Disruptive innovation may get attention in the media and create buzz. But, focusing too much on disruption may cause companies to overlook another important driver of innovation: “nondisruptive creation.” This new way of thinking about what’s possible, Kim and Mauborgne say, highlights the immense potential for creating new markets where none existed before.

The authors say the concept itself is not new, though the term may be—it’s a concept that these authors popularized in their best-selling business book Blue Ocean Strategy. “Think back. Before X-rays, what was there? No market at all, just surgeons with knives who cut into our flesh to find (or not find) something. Before aspirin? Herbal remedies, mostly made at home from recipes passed on from grandmothers.” The authors also give modern examples like microfinance, online dating and Viagra—all new products or services that found (really created) a market but didn’t need to do so at the expense of any existing industries.

Benefits of a Nondisruptive Approach

There are several advantages of pursuing nondisruptive innovation. For one, it’s a less emotionally and politically difficult means of innovation within established organizations. “Many people forget that Kodak created the first digital camera,” say Kim and Mauborgne. “But since the digital camera would disrupt its film business, the company faced insurmountable emotional and political conflicts among its people, hindering the change.” Additionally, companies faced with disruptive innovation can sometimes leverage their existing competencies to pivot and create a new market, rather than fighting against the current of new technology and industry change. And for new companies, nondisruptive innovation helps avoid butting heads with the big existing players who fear a challenge to their supremacy.

Nondisruptive innovation is a way to take the path of least resistance when looking to generate revenue and create business opportunities. Rather than fighting within the industry or even within one’s own organization for a piece of the pie, you can create your own pie.

While the concept may seem to apply primarily to organizations that sell tangible products, it is equally applicable to service organizations—and content marketers. How could you take a nondisruptive creation approach to standing out in your market?

 

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We’re adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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