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Firstly a marketer, I'm a digital strategist and content creator. I love engaging communities and building properties that inspire action.

I'm the co-founder at Just Media Design, I've worked for a Silicon Valley Incubator, I co-host the iTunes #1 podcast Living Outrageously, and Social Q&A. I'm the author of the Amazon best selling Outsource Your MVP and am a world record holder.

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What Does It Mean To Be Disruptive?
August 22, 2012 mattkelly.com.au Business

Remember in school where you’d get into trouble for disrupting your class? Times are a changing, and we know that in business, those who disrupt, who update, who change industries for the better.

If you’re not being attacked by someone in your niche, if everyone immediately understands what you’re doing, likelihood is your start up isn’t the game-changing, industry moulder you might be hoping it to be.

Disruptive innovation occurs when a new market player enters by providing an enhanced product or service offering at a more compelling trade off (ie: price). Forcing competition to adapt, and ultimately changing the way an entire industry operates.

We’re in a transitional phase at present, whereby traditional business still ‘owns’ the bulk of the global the markets (as they have done for a long time). These are typically prime industries waiting to be disrupted by their smaller, more agile, competitors. If you’re watching a traditional business, operate the same way they have for decades, without adapting as technology emerges, it’s quite likely they’re in limbo, just waiting for someone new to come in and disrupt their market.

When this happens, that large organization will either adapt, or die. However in most cases they don’t even see the disruption taking place until its too late.

The contrast of this is sustaining innovation. With sustaining innovation, one market player iterates or advances an industry, allowing existing players to iterate on their presence while continuing to compete.

Start-up founders often target a disruptive market entrance due to a frustration or pain in the way things have ‘always been done’. These founders have typically identified a cheaper, more efficient or more enjoyable method of service delivery and take the view that the old guys ‘shouldn’t still be doing that, I can do it better.’

You’re probably building a disruptive business if…

Before launch: No one understands what you’re doing. Everyone around you doubts you’ll have any success. You are constantly getting negative feedback about what you’re trying to do. You are being asked; “What happens when ‘X’ joins your space” (substitute ‘X’ for Google or another large organization).

After launch: You receive threatening letters your traditional competitors. You get attacked, both indirectly and directly from your competition.

I ultimately believe that business models are made to be disrupted.  In many cases, traditional businesses need to adapt in order to create the strongest possible service offering for their clients, and if they don’t, they’ll become undone when someone else does.

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  • Name: Matt Kelly
  • E-mail: matt@mattkelly.com.au

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