Last night, I attended a local investment ‘Shark Tank’ event where keen start-up entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.
There was no holding back among the business enthusiasts and the group witnessed a range of ideas from township food carts to smart-phone-assisted diagnostic tools, online car shopping, to programmes for temporary gym instructors.
The event was hosted by the The Founder Institute, a US-based pre-seed start-up accelerator, now active in South Africa. (https://fi.co/about)
Panellists scored individuals out of 5 with feedback as to the problems or potential for the business case.
Among the ideas were many concerning social innovations such as life skills for school kids, workplace skills for teens, and dream incentives for young adults.
But those who scored highest among both business and social concepts were the disruptors.
The concept of business disruption has been around since 1995, first coined by American scholar Clayton Christensen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation and has been thrust around business ever since.
Disruption is to innovation what digital is to photography. The need is to innovate, and disruption is the how to.
There is nothing new about innovation and years ago, when I worked in the advertising industry the buzz word was deconstruct – you might find this term still relevant in cooking, such as a deconstructed salad (practically a contradiction in terms) – which meant finding a way to deliver the unexpected; to throw concepts at clients that would edge them out of their comfort zones.
And that is exactly what disruption means now. Some will list Uber and Airbnb as the greatest business disruptors of the modern era, while others might argue that Uber does not fit the strict definition because a taxi market already existed.
Some say that disruption serves to displace the market system, so it’s not just about utilising an existing market more effectively, it’s actually about finding new markets either by adding innovation or addressing gaps that arise from changes in social structures. https://www.tonyrobbins.com/career-business/what-disruption-really-means/
Whether your business disrupts according to the strict definition, or whether it differentiates by doing the same as others, but just so much better, innovation is the only platform that can move your business forward.
There is no shortage of literature on ‘personal brand’ and it was one of the topics at the recent National Small Business Convention (NSBC) www.nsbc.org.za
So while there’s a lot said, like money and free time, you can never have too much of it.