Contrary to many a Silicon Valley pitch session, and willfully aided by a flagrant overuse of the term itself, “disruption” shouldn’t be associated with a slight iteration on an existing solution.
Real disruption is—well, it’s disruptive. It fundamentally changes how people and industries approach situations and problems, how they made decisions and how they navigate the world around them.
The question is: how does a person set about creating something truly disruptive and how do they inspire people around them to help them do it?
Great people are born and great ideas are too
When laying the groundwork for any creative company, you must first and foremost recognize that great products come from great people. When building a team, the focus for an entrepreneur dedicated to going beyond what has been created before, is simple; to recruit the best, trust them, and foster a culture where inspiration and play set the stage for innovation.
Spawned by the Industrial revolution, the tried and true model of business success was one where time was monitored, productivity was scheduled, and the workplace was uniform in design and free of distractions that would interfere with the calculated and steady progress which were the earmarks of success.
While this culture may have been an appropriate model for the past, it is not the way of the future. Disrupting the status quo takes a leap of faith. Challenging the norms of any industry, and breaking down long established walls of the tried and true is not easy. To nurture a creative team that is capable of aggressive innovation requires a forward thinking approach that prioritizes interconnectedness, a shared passion to achieve the impossible, and the permission to fail fast so you can succeed faster.
Take time to find the holes
What’s happening in the world today? What is the important connection that has yet to be made? When technology leaps forward, where are the gaps that will beg to be filled? Asking these questions, and having the insight to find the answers, will quickly set you on the path to creating an effective, disruptive company.
Incredible advancements in connectivity through the continual development of global communication platforms has paved the way, not only for our things to be connected but also the machines that build the world around us. Along with these developments, global commerce has become more and more connected, and competition to supply the resources and other needs of the world has become so competitive, that every major industry is racing to maximize both its input and output efficiencies, in order to gain and retain crucial competitive edges.
By seeing these evolutions and solving the problems that are created in their wake, the potential for small and effective startups to experience exponential growth has never been greater. Having the foresight to see a widening gap and the courage to pursue a solution to fill it, however, is not for the fainthearted.
Make it desirable, affordable, and easy to execute
Once you have identified an opportunity, to be an effective disruptor your product must not only catch the attention of your target market, but, upon a cursory evaluation, possess an obvious and compelling value proposition. Disruptors do not merely improve subtly on an existing idea, they approach a problem in a way so advanced and unique that it makes the traditional, often labor intensive practices of the past, so glaringly obsolete that it is hard to imagine a time when it was seen as the best approach.
Solve significant problems. Address specific needs.
If you have generated an idea and then set about trying to figure out who might want it, my advice would be to save yourself the trouble.
Truly disruptive companies do not create products and then search for a market to sell them to. Instead they come with an entirely new approach. They don’t enter the game with a different type of swing. They come having rewritten the rules.
When you’ve gotten to the place where you can’t believe your product doesn’t already exist, and you can’t last an elevator ride without telling someone about it, you will know you’re on track to become a disruptor.
Nav Dhunay is the CEO of Ambyint.