What Does it Mean to Disrupt an Industry?

What does it mean to disrupt an industry? Disruption is an attention-grabbing buzzword with a lot of baggage, but what does the term actually entail for those who use it. Industry disruption can take on many forms and have different impacts depending on the type of business or market being disrupted.

Disruptive innovation is a type of innovation that can cause a sudden and dramatic change in an industry. The term has been applied to many different industries, including banking, retail, transportation, media, education, and healthcare. Read more in detail here: disruptive innovation.

What Does it Mean to Disrupt an Industry?

So far this year, I’ve read over 100 company proposals and witnessed roughly 50 pitches. Approximately half of them said that they would disrupt their industry. It’s no surprise that someone on Quora last week asked:


What exactly does it mean to “disrupt” a market? I always hear about how this or that is ‘disrupting’ whatever business it is in. What exactly does it imply?

That is an excellent question. That phrase is overused. And I believe that genuine disruption is a fantastic aim that is both uncommon and lucrative when it occurs.

What exactly is a disruption? It’s what freeways and trucks did to railways, what internet streaming video is doing to DVD rentals and conventional network television right now, what typewriters and word processors did to typewriters, and what mp3 files and iPods did to the music business. That’s exactly what email did to the postal service. It’s exactly what the internet did to public libraries. This is exactly what the Amazon Kindle did to book sales.

When this occurs, it’s a major thing. It doesn’t happen very frequently, however. Sure, examples are simple enough, but attempting to do so with your or my company today is a far more difficult task.

Do you cease saying in your plans and pitches that you’re going to disrupt your industry? Maybe. Hearing the phrase elicits both distrust and curiosity. Use it sparingly and only if you are confident in your ability to sustain it.

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The “disruption index” is a tool that can be used to determine the level of disruption in an industry. The higher the number, the more disruptive it is.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you disrupt an industry?

What does it mean to disrupt a market?

What does disruptor mean in business?

A: Disruptor is a term used in business that means something that changes the way things are done.

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