Disruptive technology on its own is a very obscure concept. Let us walk you through the intricacies of what disruptive technology is all about
Remember that week when Netflix announced that it’d be finally entering India? The online binge watching community welcomed it with a resounding YES (you couldn’t hear them because they said it at home). Such is the power of a corporation that started out by renting out DVD’s by post and is now the global leader in streaming television. Netflix has over 75 million subscribers today who spent a total of 42.5 billion hours streaming television in 2015. Netflix is a classic example of what is defined today as ‘disruptive innovation’.
The term disruptive innovation was coined by a Harvard professor, Clayton Christensen. In simple terms, when a firm innovates disruptively it allows a new population of consumers to access a product or service that was previously only available to consumers with either lots of money or lots of skill. To illustrate, a personal computer is a disruptive innovation because it handed computing power to regular customers; ones who couldn’t afford a mini or mainframe computer that was as big as a condo once upon a time. Cellular phones disrupted fixed landline phones to create a whole new industry (and an addiction disorder) for themselves – now that’s what we call disruptive.
Disruptive innovation has primarily been witnessed in the technology sector since these innovations set benchmarks for other industries to follow or adapt to. What makes Netflix so chill is its insatiable desire to make customers addicted to the convenience it offers, the convenience of having great multimedia content in front of your eyes, for a fraction of the price of real cable television. Netflix in its growth displaced a very popular rental store called Blockbuster that enjoyed 1.62 billion dollars of market cap. In essence, Netflix disrupted the way we consume digital media content, forever.
But hey, that’s a lot of global out there; the Indian industry isn’t far behind at showing the world how things are to be done either. Know that dingy little vehicle you’ve seen zipping in your city a few times? The one with the engine at the back? The one without the AC? No, not the three wheeled one, that’s what we call a rickshaw. I’m talking about the Tata Nano. The infamous ‘common man’s car’ that retailed at slightly more than a lakh, has been touted to be an industry disruptor (not because it shook up a few politicians here and there) that forced those honchos who make fancy wheels to sit up and take notice. The world’s cheapest car uses plastic instead of metal, reduces to focus on a low cost design and cuts out all those frills that keep a car out of reach for an average working Indian. In this case, Tata didn’t target car owners to buy the Nano, instead they urged two-wheeler owners to trade in for a brand new car and harnessed this want of a certain upgrade in lifestyle to make the Nano a success. Although the reception for the Nano was lukewarm, it simply can’t be written off as a failed innovation just as yet. Why? By April 2011 the Nano had sold 10000+ units and grabbed a double digit market share. It continues to grow even today.
Disrupt today for a better tomorrow.
Volume 5 Issue 9