Being Innovative vs. Being Disruptive

For many people out there innovation and disruption are terms that are often confused. However, there is a difference between the two. The only problem is that the difference is a little hard to spot.

 You may innovate but not necessarily disrupt something. However, when you disrupt something you are not only going to be innovative, but the innovation is going to seem so irrational, so away from the norms that eventually the whole industry will be disrupted.

Confused? Probably a better way to explain this is with the help of an example. is an online platform where you can look up different hotels and resorts, find out about their amenities and facilities, book yourself a room, check out the nearby locations etc. In its own time, when it first rolled out was seen as an innovative way of handling your accommodation needs when travelling.

It was definitely innovative, but did it disrupt anything? No!

What would seem like a disruptively innovative idea in the same industry? Several people put their heads together and thought that it would be a great idea if they could have an online marketplace where they could have people who want to rent out their homes to people who may be in need of an accommodation.

And this is how Airbnb was born! The idea of connecting the hosts and the travelers together was not only innovative but disruptive too!

When an individual is just being innovative they might be that way without necessarily having to dismantle the entire system. They can simple propose a new, more insightful problem solving strategy, one which the world has never seen before just like they did with At the end of the day their strategy is also something completely original, but it has not created any disruption anywhere.

On the other hand when you talk about people who wish to disrupt markets, their idea does not only have to be innovative, it needs to be so ingenious that just on its innovativeness it creates chaos. Only then would they be able to create the disruption they intend to. It is clear by now that for a person to create disruption, they must possess the key of innovation in their hands.

Disruptive Innovators: A Force to be Reckoned With

When disruptors want to introduce a revolutionary solution, they think about introducing such a massive innovation which would disrupt their particular industry in such a manner that the old no longer remains in demand. The disruptive innovators become a force to be reckoned with on their own.

 Another popular example of businesses that introduced disruptive innovation includes Facebook: the social media site which literally changed the game of how people previously interacted with each other.

It is clearly that if an industry wishes to survive, they must constantly innovate. This is the biggest competitive edge they have. But do businesses need to disrupt too? While this may certainly be food for thought, one thing is clear that you can neither be innovative or disruptive without being backed up by innovation.