What is Disruptive Innovation and Why is it Important?
By Shankar Iyer, Chief Engineer, Nielsen
Today’s technology landscape is more dynamic, fast-paced and entrepreneurial than ever before. For big and small companies everywhere, innovation is a survival imperative. We believe innovation is a continuum and that successful companies innovate along the entire spectrum.
At the far left of the continuum is creativity—small-scale improvements to existing products and processes that associates do as a part of their daily jobs. Disruptive innovation is at the other end of the continuum. This type of innovation shakes up the ecosystem and creates new revenue opportunities through new markets, categories and change in consumer behavior. They also tend to be the most infrequent type of innovation, often occurring only a handful of times in the life of a company. Commercial innovation is the most frequent source of innovation and typically comes in the form of new products or substantial product improvements in existing markets. A healthy product portfolio requires all three types of innovations.
Where can I see disruptive innovations?
Disruptive innovations, by nature, don’t occur very often. While developed nations, with their large research pools, have been fertile grounds for such innovations in the past, emerging nations have been a more recent source of such innovations. Innovation, often driven by a confluence of technology and sociology, is a necessity in these countries. Global multi-national companies, such as Nielsen, are pursuing reverse innovation programs to innovate in emerging economies and adapt those innovations in developed markets.
Four ways companies can inspire disruptive innovation:
- Talk to your biggest fans. Create an innovation process and structure to capture the wealth of ideas from those who know your business best—your own people and your consumers. Ask them how you can change their lives.
- Look to your neighbors. Look for an idea in the developing world that works there and find a way to apply that same concept to the developed world.
- Encourage failure. Don’t be afraid to fail, but fail fast. Empower associates to take risk and encourage entrepreneurship.
- Stop and listen. Disruptive innovation starts with listening and asking the right questions. But you can’t stop there. Keep collecting feedback throughout the process.
Take a virtual tour through our Innovation Expo when you sign up to watch Consumer 360 Live on June 4 – 5. If you are attending Consumer 360 in person, stop by the Innovation Expo to experience some of the latest solutions that will help bring you closer to your consumer.