Understanding Disruption Theory Today: 5 Key Examples of Industry Disruption
Author: Go Studio
April 21, 2023

Back in 1995, a new concept emerged that would revolutionize the way we think about innovation-driven growth. The theory of disruptive innovation has become a powerful tool for leaders of all stripes, from entrepreneurs of small startups to executives of large, well-established organizations. At its core, the theory of disruptive innovation is all about identifying the ways in which new technologies and business models can upend existing markets and create new ones.

Let’s look at when Southern New Hampshire University was struggling to attract students to its traditional, brick-and-mortar campus and the leadership team decided to embrace online learning. This created an industry disruption that would enable students to pursue degrees entirely online. It’s no surprise that the U.S. News & World Report has ranked SNHU, as of 2019, the most innovative university for five years straight, and today the online community is one of the largest in the country, with more than 170,000 students enrolled.

What is industry disruption?

Innovation opens the door for significant change caused by new technology or business models that completely transform an industry’s traditional way of operating, often leading to new opportunities, the creation of new markets, and the decline of established players.

Disruptive innovation isn’t just for big companies with deep pockets. It can also be a guiding light for small startups looking to make their mark on the world. Remember the case of Airbnb? The popular home-sharing platform disrupted the hotel industry. Did you know that when co-founders Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia first launched Airbnb in 2008, they struggled to attract investors?

The important aspect to note is that Chesky, Blecharczyk, and Gebbia believed in the power of industry disruption, and continued to refine their business model. They leveraged the power of the sharing economy to create a platform that allows travelers to stay in local homes. Today, Airbnb is valued at more than $80.03 billion and has revolutionized the way we think about travel and lodging.

Anyone has the power to be a disruptor if they’re willing to think outside the box and take risks. Some incredible things are happening with technology and artificial intelligence currently that are revolutionizing the way we think about market opportunities and opening doors we didn’t know existed.


The AI Revolution: How Artificial Intelligence is Shaking Up Multiple Industries

ChatGPT: AI Powering the Charge in Current Industry Disruption

The rise of AI technology has been both exciting and unsettling and its potential is massive. The AI tool is capable of taking over certain roles once reserved for humans and even answering customer service inquiries, creating legal documents, and writing news reports. While it presents opportunities for jobs and organizations, it also threatens to take over certain positions traditionally held by humans – but also generate new ones. The rise of artificial intelligence technology is opening doors for significant industry disruption.

According to Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman, the world’s leading expert in human judgment – in a battle between humans and AI, artificial intelligence is going to win. “Clearly AI is going to win. How people adjust is a fascinating problem.” AI may have flaws, but human reasoning is deeply flawed as well and Kahneman spent a lifetime documenting the shortcomings of human judgment. It’s important that instead of fearing this disruption, humans embrace it and find ways to work alongside AI to create a better future, innovation, and better business opportunities. One way to do this is by focusing on the unique skills and strengths that humans possess, such as creativity, and empathy thinking while working to leverage artificial intelligence technology to achieve continuous innovation. Just like with the rise of the internet, smartphones, and social media, new jobs will emerge with the rise of artificial intelligence.

Revolutionary AI Technology in Commerce and Manufacturing

Technology and AI integration in the world of commerce and manufacturing is set to skyrocket. According to IBM research, the industry is looking at the use of artificial intelligence increasing from 40% to a whopping 80% in just three years. Although AI technology is receiving ongoing investment to improve and develop, not everyone is on board with this new direction. Some large corporations are reluctant to embrace change, which ironically slows down overall market growth and proves to be disadvantageous in the long term. Artificial intelligence in the manufacturing market is projected to grow from $1.82B in 2019 to $9.89B by 2027.

AI can benefit Manufacturing in a few ways:

  • Predict what your customers will buy before they even know they want it.
  • Autonomously optimize production processes to save time and money.
  • Intelligent robots can handle dangerous and difficult tasks, reducing human risk and errors.

Revolutionizing Retail: The Global Impact of Technology

The retail industry underwent a remarkable transformation in the last decade, driven by the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. The shift towards online shopping has been nothing short of seismic, with millions of consumers turning to e-commerce platforms to purchase everything from groceries to luxury goods.

Many analytics companies predict that global retail AI will grow at a staggering CAGR of 30% by 2033, mirroring the growth we’ve seen before. This widespread adoption of artificial intelligence has provided retailers with unprecedented opportunities to optimize their marketing, e-commerce, and product management strategies.

Why? The pandemic sparked a renewed focus on digitalization and innovation where many companies leveraged industry disruption to pivot and improve existing processes. With the help of AI, retailers can make data-driven decisions quickly and accurately, reducing the gap between ideas and their implementation.

This technological revolution has not only transformed the way we shop but also created a massive economic opportunity. Online and non-store sales are predicted by the National Retail Federation to reach $5.13T to $5.23T in 2023.

Oil and Gas Industry: Baker Hughes Launches Game-Changing Application

Picture this: you’re a well operator, monitoring production data from wells in real-time and you suddenly notice a sharp increase in oil and gas production rates. Thanks to Baker Hughes’ cutting-edge AI-based application, you can now optimize and forecast rates with just a few clicks. A groundbreaking tool that has altered how the oil and gas industry operates since 2020. Because of the ability to see production data in real-time, operators can now make informed decisions and optimize operational processes like never before. Industry disruption is happening due to leveraging artificial intelligence tools and increased access to intelligent workflows in the oil and gas industry.

The Metaverse Effect: How This Innovative Disruption is Revolutionizing Corporations

The virtual world is providing companies with new ways to engage with customers, create new jobs and positions, and generate new revenue streams. A recent Forbes article, 13 Surprising Changes The Metaverse May Soon Bring To Businesses And Consumers, sheds light on the transformative potential of this immersive technology.

The metaverse presents opportunities for companies to revolutionize employee training and development. By using a simulated environment, employees can acquire new skills and engage with customers, leading to improved performance and customer satisfaction.

Virtual showrooms are gaining significant momentum as a way to showcase products and offer customers a unique interactive experience. These experiences are incredible, and enable customers to explore and interact with products while companies increase customer engagement and ultimately drive sales.

The metaverse is also providing corporations with new revenue streams through virtual real estate, virtual goods, and advertising. This has created a new business model that companies will inevitably need to adapt to. Although there are many positives, this industry disruption also presents challenges such as privacy and security concerns, as well as technical complexities. Corporations that embrace the metaverse and take a proactive approach to address these challenges are likely to be the most successful in this new digital transformation. Nearly 70% of companies could adopt this market estimated to be worth $800B in revenue by 2024, according to Bloomberg. As the metaverse continues to evolve, corporations that stay ahead of the curve and harness its power will undoubtedly emerge as leaders in the digital economy.


Broaden Your Understanding of What Comes Next

Whether or not you agree with the strategic direction emerging technologies like AI or the metaverse take your industry in, these disruptors all have one thing in common: the more people learn to embrace change, the more likely they are to find early success when those innovations become necessities to day to day operations.

There are numerous examples in the recent past that show how potential investors missed opportunities when they believed an idea was too radical or different to be successful (like those who refused to buy into the idea of Airbnb). Some individuals would still allow opinions from human judgment experts like Daniel Kahneman to fall on deaf ears when they choose not to believe in the potential future of AI & tools like ChatGPT. What comes next in these areas is dependent on companies with the vision to adapt technologies that cause industry disruption and make them their own.

Your current market is predicated by what is available today, but through a continuous cycle of technology introduction or technology obsolescence, you may find your business on the cusp of opportunity or disaster. How will you respond?


Become a Successful Industry Disruptor

At Go Studio, we understand the importance of disrupting the status quo and pushing the boundaries. That’s why we offer innovation workshops to spark your team’s creativity and inspire them to think outside the box. Our specialized experts are dedicated to finding new solutions and discovering emerging technologies that can give your business a competitive edge. Small and large companies alike have the opportunity to grow and thrive with the right mindset and tools. If you want your organization to stay ahead of the game, partner with us.

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