Disruptive technology drives the growth of innovation.
However, it’s not the tech itself that is disruptive, it’s the use of the tech and the way it is applied to disrupt an existing market or industry. By introducing a technologically enabled new service or product, the innovator provides a better or cheaper solution to a widespread consumer need or want and utilises it so that the market changes.
At the turn of the twentieth century the advent of the motor car disrupted transport when subsequent centuries-old use of the horse and cart declined – and cars increased in demand and became more affordable.
Throughout the century technology moved rapidly, and many existing markets were forced to evolve or fail as new ones appeared – Blockbuster Video became the established viewing model and was in turn disrupted by streaming.
Today, technological transformation is incredibly rapid as new platforms such as AI, renewable energy, and robotics evolve concurrently.
AI is set to disrupt all sectors. As deep learning, inspired by the structure of the brain, imitates the way humans gain certain types of knowledge, it may become no longer necessary for humans to programme all software which will speed up industry significantly as less human supervision is required.
Green technology is increasingly influencing the automotive industry as electric vehicles finally become a more realistic mainstream proposition. In this case there is a social as well as technological aspect to the disruption. And inevitably, as costs fall, consumers are willing, battery life and range increases and a reliable charging network develops, electric cars will disrupt the 100 years plus combustion engine model. The question is how long will it be before the electric car market is disrupted in turn? Probably far less than 100 years, but at the moment, the future of the automotive industry is electric, powered by renewable energy which in turn is becoming increasing mainstream having disrupted the fossil fuel model.
The area of robotics appears to be overcoming some consumer resistance and will increasingly operate in many work environments. Industries and businesses that require workflows or physical processes will utilise them more and more as costs come down and capabilities rise. In domestic settings, assistive technology will increasingly support the disabled and elderly to remain independent.
Ultimately, when customers adopt the new, technology-driven products, services, and solutions in great number, disruption of the market has taken place.