Digital Disruption & Innovation in Australia

Digital Disruption or Disruptive Innovation, is a term of art coined by Clayton Christensen, it describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.

We may think disruptive innovation is a new process driven by digital entrepreneurs who see opportunity in a market that is being created through customer dissatisfaction towards existing providers.

Disruptive innovation doesn’t have to be digital and has been going on for centuries just look what the screw cap wine bottle did for the cork industry or the cigarette lighter to the match industry, not to mention the steam engine.

So it’s not new but it does seem to be happening quicker now.

Is this because technology is easy to access or is it because we are less tolerant or do we have more things to get dissatisfied about?

Digital Disruption must be good right?

If a current service or product is becoming complacent, not meeting expectations even price gouging then they deserve a good shake up and even lose their market share.

Another provider that’s really different and provides better service and saves you money has to be a winner, right?

Yes it can, but there are also losers.

There are the obvious ones like the old service or product providers, but there can be others.

Many of the new “Disruptive Businesses” are Digital Disruption which are driving the “gig economy”.

A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.

Relatively new to Australia but if we continue to adopt new technology and digital disruption as we do now we can possibly see the numbers of gig workers increasing to reflect the numbers forecast in America.

“With the help of technology, you will increasingly see more than just an uptick in gig economy businesses and startups in the years ahead.  A study conducted by Intuit indicated that by the year 2020 exactly 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.”

This can be a good alternative for many workers dependent on their qualifications, age and availability.

But is it sustainable, how long are you going to want to bid for a gig to move some ones fridge or connect up some ones TV.

Is it really sustainable for the longer term?

Are gig workers disciplined enough to save for their own retirement, are we going to see 40% of the workforce without any superannuation savings in 40 years time?

Disruption can be a good thing and deliver real alternatives, but disruptive businesses should take into account their long- term impact.

If they are sustainable and socially responsible they will be real winners.