Being a tech guy in a non-tech industry, I get to attend all of the conferences, sales pitches and key note speakers that like to throw around the latest and greatest buzzwords. Today’s buzzword, “Disruptive Technology” (a.k.a. Disruptive Innovation).
Disruptive Technology is a Buzzword. Plain and Simple.
Why do I think disruptive technology is a buzzword? Because not every new technology should be considered disruptive. Some tech is just the forward movement of the industry, and customers are simply adopting an easier or more convenient mode of interacting with companies. In order to start looking at new, scary technology a little more objectively, let’s get to the bottom of what disruptive technology really is.
Disruptive technology creates a new market, and a new value chain. It doesn’t fit within the realm of what we currently have – it is something completely different. Airbnb in itself isn’t a disruptive technology. It isn’t something that fits within the same paradigm as the hotel industry. Airbnb and Uber are the results of the disruptive technology that is the sharing economy. This is something completely different than what existed before, and for those of you that currently rely on this technology, you would have no idea how you could ever go back.
We need to stop talking about every new thing in our industries as “disruptive technology” because that makes it seem like it is an unstoppable force, being fed by the Silicon Valley machine, that is coming to decimate all of us. This isn’t the case for most of the innovation we see today. A lot of the innovation we see around us are simply new tools of the trade, things we should embrace and adopt.
It might not be disruptive technology, you’re industry might just be stuck in the stone age.
Here’s the bad news. If you can’t go to conference or convention without hearing about the scary disruptive technologies that are out there, there’s probably a good reason for it. The small, incremental innovations that we’re seeing with mobile users and the proliferation of the internet are probably so drastic from where you are today that it might seem like a massive change. If every new technology seems like a disruptive technology, it’s time to pull up your socks and get with the times. If you’re still paper based, doing manual work, data entry and your only mode of communication with your customers is the telephone or snail mail, you’re probably right – every new innovation could be one step closer to your demise. But that’s your fault, that’s just the industry progressing and moving forward. Don’t get caught dragging your heels in this amazing time of innovation and new technologies. Embrace it, get more done in less time and find exciting ways to do better business today.