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Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro


Disruptive innovation forcesI was recently asked by a European magazine to provide my list of the most disruptive companies of 2015/2016.

I thought about it and struggled to answer. For me, companies don’t disrupt; platforms, industries, and other macro forces do.

Given that I provided my top 7 disruptive forces…

  1. Peer-to-peer – This is causing disruption to all industries and will continue to do so. Uber and Airbnb are just the start. Every industry, including banking and insurance, are impacted. No one is immune.
  2. 3D printing – Although it is not disrupting massively today, it will in the very near future. Cars and motorcycles have now been 3D printed. Houses too. The disruption isn’t just to manufacturers, but the supply chain/shipping companies. When you can print your product at home (just like a printer today), you don’t need to ship anything.
  3. Autonomous/electric vehicles – I realize these are two categories lumped into one. Just today the first autonomous truck (a beer delivery) was “driven” over 100 miles – on real highways – with human intervention only on the exit ramps. The implications for self-driving cars is massive – not just to companies and industries, but to society. And electric storage (not just for cars) will reshape our relationship to fossil fuels.
  4. On-Demand Video – This is a broad category, but for the first time we are seeing Netflix and Amazon win Emmy awards. You can subscribe to individual stations rather than paying a one-size-fits-all cable package. YouTube and FaceBook Live are starting to play a role. And the AT&T/Time Warner merger will certainly add an interesting twist to this area.
  5. Millenials – This generation is disrupting every industry. Their decision making process is different. Their desires are not the same as past generations. They are social and technologically savvy. This is forcing every industry to change their business model. Every client of mine is struggling with this one…more than any other disruption.
  6. Blockchain – A biggie for banking industry, but has ramifications in many industries including the music industry. It will even disrupt the disrupters as it will eliminate the need for intermediaries like Uber.
  7. Virtual Communications and Augmented Reality –  We are in the early stages of this, but these will disrupt so many industries. Meetings and travel industry (e.g. hotels and airlines) will be impacted. Pokemon Go is just the start of augmented reality. This will ultimately become a virtual communication tool also for people to engage with others who are not physically there. Facebook is already working on some cool things in this space (having recently purchased Oculus VR).

What are your thoughts on disruptive forces? Which ones concern you the most? Which do you think are fads and will not become mainstream?

P.S. Someone commented on another platform that AI is another, and I tend to agree. Whether it is really AI, machine learning, or some variation thereof, machines will continue to do tasks better and faster than humans. This coupled with enhanced robotics will provide some major disruptions to the workforce.

  1. Mike Amphlett says:

    Interesting stuff, but some punctuation and spell checking would be helpful too! “On-Demand Video – This is a board category…” e.g. board or broad? Struggling to interpret what you mean makes taking it seriously less easy…

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