There are two things that distinguish companies: what they say and what they do. Business theoreticians, marketers, and even research firms use buzzwords to sell books, products, and reports, respectively. Whenever a particular buzzword such as "disrupter" becomes popular, a lot of companies choose to use it whether it actually applies or not.
There are many ways to be disruptive, not all of which change the world like computers, smartphones, social networks, and self-driving cars do. Sometimes being disruptive isn't just about being innovative, it's a matter of opportunity and timing.
Disrupter or Disrupted?
Digital natives continue to impact the business models of companies in a growing number of industries as more things in the physical world are replicated or reimagined using ones and zeros. Who would have imagined that the largest bookseller would have no physical stores or that the largest taxi company would own no cars?
Today's disruptions tend to be technology-enabled, and often a confluence of technologies is necessary for the business model to succeed. For example, connected cars and even fitness trackers require a combination of sensors, computing power, adequate bandwidth, and cloud agility. As history has demonstrated, a game-changing idea has a better chance of succeeding if there's a practical way to implement it at scale.
[Read more of Lisa Morgan's discussion of disruptive innovation on All Analytics.]