Disruptive Innovation: Overviews, Examples, and Importance

Namrata Kumari

Story By: Writer, Blogger

"It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older one climbs with surprising strides. "

- George Sand


  • Different Types of Innovation


Different Types of Innovation


Innovation results from any disruptive technology. Businesses must harness it creatively to create products or services that improve or enhance customer lives. Broadly seen, four types of innovation can be explored within business cycles.


Incremental innovation


Radical innovation


Disruptive innovation


Architectural innovation


  • Architectural Innovation


Architectural Innovation

Architectural innovation involves applying skills and technology to different markets. Proven technology is repurposed or reinvented to address another market or requirement.


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  • Radical Innovation


Radical Innovation


Often, radical and disruptive innovations are used interchangeably. Radical is the essence of innovation. Radical innovation involves displacing current services or products by introducing a new product or category and thereby altering the dynamics of the market. 


Radical innovations transform the industry with technological breakthroughs and most often create new markets. On the other hand, disruptive innovations create a stir in an existing market with a new business model.


  • Incremental Innovation 


Incremental Innovation 


Incremental innovation involves adding new features or value to a product and making it more attractive or adding to the user experience. Updates to software, new features, and design changes are examples of incremental innovation.


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  • Disruptive Innovation


Disruptive Innovation


A truly disruptive innovation must be transformative and it must offer a solution that addresses a problem or pain point for customers that has hitherto been ignored. Most often, disruptive innovations are simpler and more affordable and cater to a wide segment of a market, either existing or new. 


In the process, existing setups are shaken. Most disruptive innovations have found a solution to a problem by addressing the problem from the bottom and offering a product or service that does not appear ‘sophisticated’.


  • Benefits of Disruptive Innovation 


disruptive business model


When you are a disruptive business, you hardly have any competitors on account of the unique nature of your offering. Even if others follow later, you remain the prime innovator. You might get an offer to be purchased by a bigger organization. If your disruptive business model is a success, you stand to gain big rewards. 


The advantages of disruptive innovation are many. Most often, customers gain by saving time and money with the offered product or service. It can lead to a cascade of more innovations being spun off the original one. 


Consumers gain by the efficient harnessing of resources. Disruptive innovation benefits include a more affordable product that is environment-friendly too.


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  • Examples of Disruptive Innovation


Examples of Disruptive Innovation

Video streaming platforms are clear disruptive innovation examples as they began as a low-cost alternative for movie buffs to catch their favorite movies and shows. This disrupted the video rental business as also the cable industry. Video streaming platforms like Netflix have evolved to become popular streaming providers. 


Online encyclopedias are disruptive technology examples that have taken the world by storm. Gone are the days when people bought volumes of encyclopedias, a practice that lasted a century and more.


3D Printing is a disruptive product of the future. With 3D printing, there is a potential to disrupt existing business models or consumption patterns. With the decline in the prices of 3D printers, inter-regional commerce might be a thing of the past! People might download and print their own items.


  • How Disruptive Innovation has brought revolutionary changes in the world



Online education is a disruptive business model that is making education accessible to huge numbers of people, irrespective of their location. It is still not clear if it will disrupt the education model as we know it. 


Disruptive innovations shake up an industry and consequently, there is a fall in the existing successful players. Disruption, usually brought about by new entrants, address the overlooked problems and target customers, and offer a lower-priced solution. 


The existing successful incumbents are so focused on improving their products or services that they are caught unawares. When more and more consumers move towards the new offerings, it disrupts the industry.


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  • Disruptive Business Models


Disruptive Business Models


Disruptive business models are lower-cost models that initially begin serving a lower-end market before expanding to the other segments. While they might be dismissed in their early stage, disruptive businesses slowly gain traction to become dramatic competitors that upstage the big competitors. 


In the healthcare industry, convenient care clinics are an example of a disruptive model. Traditionally, physicians examine and diagnose patients and then prescribe medications and treatments. But in these ‘quick clinics’, a standardized procedure is followed to diagnose and treat many small ailments and disorders.


  • Conclusion


With increasing customer needs, businesses are always looking at improvements and innovations in products and services. Some innovations are gradual while others can be path-breaking. The decision to pursue them and make them viable for the business can be the crucial one..


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Namrata Kumari

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