By, Adam Vasquez, Founder & CEO at Merit.
Disruption might be the biggest business bandwagon of all time. But ask most people what their idea of disruption is, and they’ll stare at you with a blank look or start rattling off a set of disjointed ideas.
First of all, disruption is not a strategy: it’s the result of your strategy and execution. And disruption very rarely happens from within the existing industry or company — but there is a process that works across virtually every industry.
“There’s a process?”
Yes, and it’s so critical that if you ignore it, your disruption will end up benefiting your competition. It’s what most viral marketing stars, top business schools, and business strategy books never tell you. If you set disruption as your end goal, but fail to define that new market environment and how you will control it, you’re doomed to the same fate as all those other first movers who created their own downfalls. Think Kodak’s creation of the digital camera market that eventually destroyed them. Not exactly how disruption is supposed to go, right?
Or when Garmin and TomTom worked so hard to popularize GPS navigation, only to hear cell phone manufacturers say, “Thanks, but we’ve got this.” We’re seeing Snapchat, once considered the next big thing, fade into irrelevance as Instagram takes over.
You see, these companies did “disruption” too, and they transformed their markets entirely. But without a solid strategy, they never established themselves as the unassailable leader. They thought that an original idea was good enough and failed to take the strategic process into account. They certainly had never looked into the system of disruptive leadership, never worked to describe the mechanisms at play. They failed to realize the process behind successful disruption.
That process is called Market Invention.
Market Invention is the gold standard when it comes to creating new markets that disrupt old ones. It is so much more powerful than “disruption” or “disruptive innovation” because it is an applicable system, not just some vague and cliched goal. It’s the sort of deliberate thinking that allows companies not just to disrupt, but to disrupt the disruptors. With an emphasis on research, agile execution, and long-distance vision, Market Invention propels disruption from opportunity to execution to dominance.
So before you start your disruption or innovation program, ask yourself: do you really have a defined process beyond product or application development? Does your marketing team really know how to invent a new market? And are you just aiming to stay in your current position, or are you ready to change your market position by inventing your future?