In a competitive market of one

I posted recently on disruptive innovation; an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network displacing an earlier technology.

But what does it really look like?

The best example that I have found is the combustion engine but you have to get hold of the idea that it was not the engine in itself that disrupted the transport market. OK, pre-combustion engine what did we have? Horse power; so embedded in the psyche that we still measure car performance in terms of bhp.

So, we had horses pulling loads and transporting people and along came the car and the lorry. Vastly more expensive than the best horse and pretty unreliable. Just not a disruptive innovation.

Then Henry Ford got hold of the technology and blew the market (and eventually the horse) away. Production line processes, standardisation and meeting the demands of the market – those were the disruptive innovations. Those were the innovations that turned the horse from a market-leading and vital cog in the industrial revolution into basically a family pet or sporting conveyance.

The other key thing is that the horses could do nothing about it. There were no ways that horses could re-engineer their offering to compete with Henry.

Now bring those concepts into your own marketplace:

  • What and where is your core technology or your core offering, for instance, if you are in a service industry?

  • What is your strategy for future-proofing or reinventing your offering?

  • If you were going to steal your customers from yourself, how would you do it?

  • How adaptable and creative are your key people?

If you aren’t looking at your market, be sure that someone else will be looking and starting with a clean sheet of paper. “it’s OK, there are barriers to entry” you may say. Tell that to the horses; 55 million years in development and primary in its market for just short of 5,000 years. All gone in a couple of decades.

If you want to talk about disruptive innovation in your marketplace, contact me here

John

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