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How do you perceive the word "disruptive" , when talking about a new product

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When you hear that a new product is “disruptive”, do you think first of the benefit that it may bring to you, or do you perceive it to be a marketing gimmick for the company selling it? Or is it something else?

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Robert Faller
7 days ago

7 answers

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Evolvement of the consumer product usually going by incremental improvement of the characteristics, for example smart phones. In this matter I will take word "disruptive" for modular smartphone (unfortunately now stopped) , when significant capability is added. Other word similar is "breakthrough" which no anymore a buzz word in marketing (tear and wear effect)

Andrey Zolotavin
7 days ago
Thanks, Andrey - much appreciate your perspective on this. - Robert 7 days ago
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I think the term may be overused and imply that a product or service will create or transform a market but actually be hyped by marketing.

Over my fifty years of observation of markets there have been transformational products that impacted a market and spawned more competition in response to the initial event.

Transistors, lasers, networking communication, the desktop computer, Google, Facebook, Apple in several areas, GPS systems, to name a few. But within a market as it is emerging I agree that once the breakthrough has reached a critical success point much of what follows is evolutionary.

Sandy Waters
7 days ago
Thanks, Sandy. As always, excellent and helpful perspective! - Robert 7 days ago
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I expect 'disruptive' to mean that there is a characteristic of the product that will change the way that people engage with it compared to others in that category. I also expect that change to become the new normal for that product category.

Nick Wilsher
7 days ago
Thanks, Nick - interesting perspective; particularly the part about it becoming the new normal. - Robert 7 days ago
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Add to my list of long term successful disruptive innovations CRISPR gene splicing and repair capabilities, and the seemingly endless application of Artificial Intelligence to every market segment and processes found within each.

But CRISPRs promise is one that has the potential to impact every life globally in a significant manner, and will have a future time ripple effect that we cannot fully imagine.

Likewise, AI will be embedded in an inestimable number of applications, products, services.

But consider that CRISPR and AI together clearly bring new meaning to the term disruptive innovation. The sum of the two bringing about massive global economic impacts.

Sandy Waters
7 days ago
Agree, Sandy - this combination should prove to be extremely disruptive!! - Robert 7 days ago
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I submit that were we to have commercially viable fusion energy production we would experience multiple disruptions to a number of industries and markets that could benefit from a new energy production cost point. A lower cost energy producing technology will transform a great number of businesses, and alter manufacturing processes far more than other disruptors like solar and wind power.

Sandy Waters
7 days ago
Yes, I agree; however, don;t you agree that the lower cost approaches that are more viable, such as solar and wind, which are plentiful and clean, can provide just as much disruption if used adequately? - Robert 7 days ago
Robert, ultimately i believe fusion will dominate the landscape of energy production. It will have its own pros and cons, but both wind and solar take enormous amounts of space and do not produce continuously, and as global environmental changes are shifting weather patterns they may become less reliable. Whereas i see fusion able to generate power anywhere able to use the existing grid, - Sandy 7 days ago
yes, good points. My general concern with fusion is the ""what if" scenario; but agree with your perspective none the less. - Robert 7 days ago
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For me, "disruptive" means going beyond incremental innovation into the realm of "transformational" innovation. It's hard to define perfectly, but you know it when you see it. Netflix disrupted Blockbuster Video. iPhone disrupted flip phones. Digital photography disrupted film. Automobiles disrupted horses. Typically, when I see true disruption, it is accompanied by the bankruptcy or near-bankruptcy of the incumbent because it's a big deal.

Paul Brown
6 days ago
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I see it depending on the context. Disruptive, within the description of a particular technology within a business plan, it means that the technology will be able to transform the landscape of existing technologies and self-impose as the technology of choice. This will be due to higher efficiencies, lower costs, and a considerable better connection between products and consumers, and such benefits would be accompanied by numbers and business cases. If it is within the marketing context, I see the term "disruptive" as slightly negative or as gimmick. The reason is that disruptive companies rarely portray themselves as "disruptive" (e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, etc), but rather bring products and technologies to the market that are finally accepted as disruptive. The reality is that all these disruptive products face in many cases a considerable level of resistance from the status quo and are only finally confirmed as disruptive by the markets.

Dr. Sygi Cobos
6 days ago

Have some input?