Invention, Innovation, Disruption – Where have we gone, where are we going – Business Commentary

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By Mark A. Leon

History has a way of developing trends, fads and generally accepted behavior. It coins terms, inks out phrases and plants ideas that create a world of ants marching to a single tune. Over the last two years, the business industry hot term is “Disruption” or “Disrupt”. Those terms are not revolutionary, but evolutionary in the scheme of business operations.

Over time, we have created, enhanced and repurposed. We have continued to look at ways to stay fresh, make money and make our lives easier with changes and adjustments to simplify existing products and services.

For example, growing up you were taught to never talk to strangers or get in a car with strangers. Now Uber and Lyft have made that an everyday part of our lives around the world.

Before going, on, let us define, the three terms that have evolved business thinking: Invention, Innovation and Disruption

Invention is the creation of something that assists in the completion of a task or action.
Innovation is the evolutionary improvement of an existing product, service or task.
Disruption is a pioneer effort that shakes up the existing principles of behavior in a situation, setting, industry, task, or location.

Yes, this is a simplistic look at the three terms, but, there is a clear understanding outlined.

Is it safe to say everything has been invented and all that is left is innovation or disruption? Perhaps, but we shouldn’t short ourselves of the future. It seems evident, our time on Earth is limited and we must go beyond the boundaries of possibility to continue existence.

Case Studies

We live in a world of disruption now and who is leading this revolution? The media will crown Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg, but, they are the financiers and pioneers of change, not the disrupters. The disrupters are the quiet voices of change.

A.A. Milne developed an unlikely relationship with his son, Billy Milne and get swept up into his imaginary world of a bear, donkey, pig, honey and Christopher Robin. That disruption changed the world of childhood literature forever. Most importantly, it gave the world a reason to smile in the shadow of war and death.

In September 2001, the United States and the world changed forever with the 9/11 hijackings and bombings. That event also delayed the premiere of a show that would forever change television and a character that TV Guide deemed the greatest hero in television history, Jack Bauer. “24” introduced us to the realities of international terrorism, gave us the first black president, first female president, drone technology and fore-shadowed the world we live in today. This show disrupted traditional broadcast thinking and showcased a massive disruptor in political drama, action and some argue was the birth of binge watching.
Netflix is a massive disrupter in the media space. As of Friday, Netflix passed Disney as the largest media company surpassing a net valuation of 152.8 billion dollars. It has affected programming, advertising, behaviors in viewing and has brought nostalgia back spurring reboots of “Will and Grace” and “Rosanne” due to the huge success of “Fuller House”

Now What?

Now that we have defined it and introduced case studies, what do we do with it?

Instantaneous media provides a huge advantage and disadvantage in moving forward.

Instant communication and viral capabilities allow information and content to send immediate shivers and drive change faster than the road runner can upset the coyote. It also provides a platform for over-saturation.

Let us take an example: Take 5 million companies (only a fraction of existing companies globally). All have a presence on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or all of them. Each puts out 3 pieces of content a day (image, article, blog, feature, spotlight).

How does that add up?

  • 15,000,000 pieces of content on social daily
  • 105,000,000 pieces of content weekly on social
  • 5,460,000,000 pieces of content annually

5.5 billion pieces of unique content daily from just about 2 – 4% of the global companies. If each of the 3 was placed on two unique social platforms, that takes us to 10.9 billion pieces annually from this small percentage of organizations.

Now, add in individuals that are creating their own brand. In a way, they are their own corporation. You can see, the number is astronomical. It makes it extremely difficult to make a difference when people need to sift through that much.

So how do you break through the wall of mass communication?

Research, simplify, target and penetrate

Greatness takes time. Even in a world of instant gratification, greatness takes time. I cannot emphasize that enough. Companies cannot live on great products and services alone. They must build relationships, demonstrate success and built on their concepts and ideas. Even then, others are fighting to make their ideas better.

Once you have that great concept, seed money, and great thinkers to surround and compliment, the next step is the hardest.

  • Research – Who is your target and why? It isn’t 6.5 billion people globally. It will be the industry experts, influencers of change, dreamers that think like you and passionate game changers.
  • Simplify – Don’t offer the world, just a piece of it. Make that piece memorable and amazing.
  • Target – Target your marketing and communication approach wisely. It isn’t the amount that will help you succeed, but the quality.
  • Penetrate – Go at that wall with all the force you have and never accept failure.

Now we have it. We live in a world of disruption and here are your keys to succeeding in this new way of thinking.