About Innovative Disruption

Innovative Disruption, Inc., is a boutique consultancy specialized in applying disruption theory to create economic value and strategic growth opportunities. We focus on three distinct types of client needs:

  • Advising innovators on how to achieve market-disrupting potential, and providing direct tactical support with business models, and product, marketing and pricing strategies
  • Helping established firms recognize disruptive threats and develop strategies to survive and thrive in a changing world
  • Providing analysis for investors who want to screen for the companies most likely to disrupt markets to place their bets and manage their portfolios for high growth

Some ways we help clients:

  • Education about how disruption happens and what enables it to occur
  • Identification of opportunities to profit from market disruption in your market segments
  • Analysis and prioritization of target markets (disruptive segmentation)
  • Optimizing price strategy for maximum disruptive opportunity
  • Job-To-Be-Done (JTBD) analysis to drive product strategy
  • Go-to-market strategy for a potentially disruptive innovation
  • Synchronization of business model and product and marketing strategies to maximize probability of market disruption
  • Analyze competitive threats and their disruptive potential
  • Reliable prediction of (disruptive) winners and losers to manage investments
  • Creation of strategic plans to avoid being disrupted

Our services can be combined and tailored to address most disruptive opportunities and threats. If your needs are unique, please contact us to discuss. We enjoy tackling new ways to create value for clients. View our list of service offerings here.

Our Name

Our name (Innovative Disruption, Inc.) is a play on the phrase "disruptive innovation", but occasionally people do get confused and use the two interchangeably (you might even catch us slipping up on occasion, and making that mistake ourselves). The notion of creating innovations disruptively isn't far removed from the term of art describing a specific type of innovation that is disruptive to markets and competition. If you came to this page looking for information about what disruptive innovation really is, the following is for you.

  Click on the book cover to learn more . . .

Click on the book cover to learn more . . .

Disruptive Innovation: What Is It, Really?

For all the hype in the market, and the frequency with which media and pundits and marketers use the term 'disruption' or 'disruptive innovation', the theory and concepts behind it are remarkably poorly understood. Like many great ideas, its popularity has led to widespread misuse.

Virtually every mention in the media uses the term incorrectly. There are conferences named after the idea that have precious little to do with disruption, and which routinely name run-of-the-mill companies and products as 'most disruptive', and where even Justin Bieber gains recognition as a disruptor because he uses YouTube (I guess that makes all of us disruptive innovators). Tech companies routinely bill themselves as disruptive regardless of their products, and often before they have even created one.

There isn't room here to provide a thorough, concise and accurate definition (although we take our best stab at it below), but it is important to stick with the meaning as defined in Christensen's theories because it is the theory that gives predictive power and value.

It is the theory that enables us to create market disruption intentionally. It is the theory which allows us to separate threats that are truly disruptive from false positives. It is the theory that gives us the ability to create strategies and business models to avoid being disrupted. It is the theory that sheds light on which investment opportunities to bet long on, and which to dump or stay away from.

Disruptive innovation as originally defined in the theory is not a meaningless marketing buzzword.

Disruption by Design: In One Place, Everything You Need to Know

In Paul Paetz's book "Disruption by Design", the theory and its applications are detailed in layman's English, with a focus on clarity, precision and readability so that any business leader can get the necessary primer to understand why disruption is significant and what can be done to leverage it for profit. If you want to cut through the hype, this book will do that, and arm you with the knowledge you need to successfully apply disruptive innovation.

Free eBook Download: Basic Info to Clear Up the Confusion

If reading the book is too big a time investment (although if you are serious about learning what you need to know about disruption, it shouldn't be), and simply want a precis explaining why there is so much confusion, why it's important to get it right, and a basic outline of the theory, download our short ebook "Disruptive Confusion" here.

Disruption Theory: The Really Short Version

If you have truly limited time, the graphic and caption below gives a concise summary of disruption theory boiled down to its core, and of the effects that we aim to help you create.



In a nutshell, Disruption Innovation is a theory about who wins competitive battles. The disruptive innovation model pictured above illustrates how challengers with innovations that are “inferior” to incumbents gain a market foothold by "competing against non-consumption".

In simple terms, they sell to target segments that 'opt-out' of participation in the existing marketplace, often because existing products are too expensive, inconvenient, or require too much expertise to use. As they do this, they simultaneously change the playing field of competition, introducing a new set of performance metrics and turning old competitive strengths into weaknesses.

Finally, the new platform improves over time until they are “good enough” to satisfy the requirements of mainstream users and become the new market incumbent.

This is possible because in most mature markets, incumbent products exceed the true performance needs of most of their customers, saddling themselves with a higher cost structure that the market isn’t willing to pay for if there is a significantly lower-priced alternative. This type of disruption is called 'low-end disruption'.

A second type of disruption abstracts the notion of inferiority based on the "job to be done" rather than the traditional product categorization, such that the new market entrant may not resemble the incumbent in any obvious way, except that the consumer considers it an acceptable alternative to the incumbent product.

Thus, it may be "inferior" when compared on the basis of attributes that the existing market values, but superior when evaluated on a different value set. Typically, such innovations are sufficiently different that they are not easily copied or adapted into existing products or solutions, which is what makes it difficult for incumbents to respond and avoid disruption.

This second sub-type of disruptive innovation follows the same pattern, but is referred to as 'new-market disruption'. New-market disruptions don't always offer a lower price, but they do offer a significantly better value/price ratio when compared to existing solutions.

Notably, it is possible for an innovation to be a 'low-end' and 'new-market' disruption simultaneously, and products that achieve this tend to be the most successful -- the iPhone is an example whose enormous success was driven by being a dual disruptor, and it dramatically altered the competitive landscape and set new standards and market expectations for everything from user interface to design elegance to simplicity to integration to form factor.