The Word 'Disruptive' in Disruptive Innovation




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Dr. Alan Williams
Professor, Thailand

The Word 'Disruptive' in Disruptive Innovation

I wonder if the term 'disruptive' is in fact the appropriate word.
If it's agreed that it means: unexpected, large scale, sudden, different approach innovation or large unexpected / clever changes to a product (or something similar) which will capture very strong attention from potential buyers, perhaps quickly gain a large market share or massively increase market share then is 'disruptive' an appropriate / easy to understand clear descriptor?
Further, it might be argued that the word 'disruptive looks like 'destructive' which has a strong negative connotation. I believe disruptive innovation is not a negative scenario.
So again: is the word 'disruptive' the appropriate word?
 

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Ivo Frielink
Netherlands
 

The Meaning of the Word DISRUPTIVE

I would argue that it is not so much the word disruptive that is the issue with disruptive innovation. The issue I feel is that almost everything in terms of rapid market change and new entrants is called disruptive innovation (Uber, whats app you name it). I would like to suggest we should only use this term if we want to point Clayton Christensen's theory on this topic. This would "clean up" the discussion on innovation and eradicate disruption as a buzz word.
The negative association with disruptive (like destructive) is to some extend correct, I feel. And indeed from the point of view of the incumbent(s) this form of disruption is truly destructive.

 
3
Rick Mueller
Professor, United States
 

Background of the Term DISRUPTIVE

In an article in the New Yorker (which is a remarkably cognizant recapitualization of how and on wha... Sign up

   

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