4 Types of Disruptive Business

4 Types of Disruptive Business

Innovation is a big part of the professional landscape but how can disruptive business help your company and make you more competitive?

You may think that anything that disrupts your business is a negative thing but it's actually something that is helping to transform the professional landscape, and it has been doing so for a long time.

So-called 'disruptive business' is something industries rely on to innovate and evolve the sector, but what exactly is it and how can it help your company?

Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Innovation Advisor and Author Greg Satell breaks it down into four main categories:

Sustaining innovation

This refers to the innovation that is based on progress already made in the industry your business is in. It's a fairly easy way companies can get into innovation, as it gives you a starting point to work from. This means you have a better idea of what pain points you can address with your new product or service.

Satell recommends conventional strategies like strategic roadmapping, traditional R&D labs, and using acquisitions to bring new resources and skill sets into the organization.

Breakthrough innovation

If there's a chronic pain point or problem that is particularly hard to solve, more unconventional approaches may be necessary to innovate. In these instances, Satell highlights the importance of open innovation strategies to help identify the problem.

This approach focuses on looking outside the organizational boundaries of a company to find spaces to innovate, increase collaboration to develop these ideas, and find validation for it from consumers.

Disruptive innovation

Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen introduced the idea of disruptive innovation and found that many best practices for companies can actually be dangerous in certain scenarios.

He found that when there is a significant shift in the industry, companies become better at delivering something that consumers want less and less of. Innovating your products in this scenario won't do much to alleviate this issue but rethinking your business model might.

Basic research

Satell highlights how innovations never arrive fully formed, citing the way no one could have predicted how Einstein’s discoveries would impact the world or that Alan Turing’s universal computer would become a real thing.

Big multinationals like IBM invest considerable amounts in basic research, while Google invites 30 top researchers every year to spend time at the company. However, small businesses can also access world-class research.

From local universities to open-access resources, there are plenty of ways to improve basic research for businesses without a massive budget.

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