Nearly a decade after its initial introduction by Bower and Christensen, I first learned about disruption theory as a student in business school. And whether it’s my own newly found understanding or journalistic overuse, the term disruption seems to be everywhere. But is disruption really everywhere?
“Disruption” describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses.
To most of us, disruption is simply the overtaking of corporate Goliath by startup David. Is Tesla disruptive? Is Uber disruptive? Again to most, the answer is probably, “Of course.”
But there’s more to disruption than the outcome between market winners and losers. In his recent HBR article, Christensen summarizes his seminal theory and analyzes whether Uber is disrupting the taxi industry. If you’ve never investigated what really makes something disruptive, read the articles in the links. You may find what you once thought of as disruptive – well – isn’t.