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The difference betweenDisruptive Innovation
and Breakthrough Technology
Richard BunkSAAB Combitech
Lindholmen Software Development Day 2016
Many disruptive innovations of today are based on key technologies that turn out to be invented years ago, sometimes even decades.
How come these inventions never reached any disruptive levels on the market?
More than 50% of launched products in USA never make any customer success, despite large amounts of money and time spent.
Ericsson R380, is considered to be the first smartphone, released in 2000
CTO of Sony Ericsson (Mars 2009):-We had smartphones on the table before Apples iPhone.
Cell phones launched 2007
Sony Er. K630
iPhone disruptive features
iPod + Cellphone + Internet connectivity One device model fits all No physical keyboard Finger-touch screen Flat-rate data plan Dialog-based SMS (speach bubbles) High level of usability
What Apple iPhone Does not offer, and Nokia does offer(Oct 18, 2008)
Cannot change the SIM card No Video Recording No SMS Forwarding No MMS Sending No Cut, Copy & Paste Non-Easy Battery Replacement No Wifi Support No Bluetooth File Sharing No Adobe Flash support
Will you still buythe costly Apple iPhone?
The Sony Ericsson innovation model
Combine any new technology with all pre-existing popular features, and then launch a product of each kind.
Those technologies that the market like, we continue to evolve upon.
Strategy:Profit should arise from launching never-before seen groundbreaking technology.
Basic assumption:Customers buy cell phones in order to get access to new technologies.
This is why some of the most disruptive innovations are so difficult to copy or understand
Turn ugly and difficult technologies into simple and beautiful things
Guess what part cost the mostand was the first to break
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1
January 20091.5 years after the iPhone entered the market
Less than two years later, Sony had its first year of financial losses in decades (-24 billion SEK). Also Nokia signalled a massive drop in profit
and Apple displayed a quarterly report that Forbes called nothing less than truelly enormous. Making a profit of 13 billion SEK in a quarter!
Asked what Apple should do with its 230 billion SEK in accumulated cash, the CTO of Sony Ericsson replied:In Apples place, I would save the money. Times are bad right now.
One lucky shot?
So just how did Apple manage to find the exact right mix of features to make the phone simple and beautiful?
especially when Sony Ericsson couldnt find that recipe even after an almost complete permutation of technologies, with years of advantage.
And how come Apple, and a few other select companies, succeed in doing this over and over again in hardware products, software products, services, even buildings?
The facts Its not about any cutting edge technology
(Sony Ericsson already tried that).
Its not merely about putting lipstick on a pig(Nokia already tried that with replacable shells).
Its not about money. Apple hasnt always had huge amounts of cash floating aroundand Sony Ericsson already tried pouring money onto product development anyway.
So it has to do something with the customers
But it cant be pure fanboyism, because loyalty arrive only as a consequence of long and steady customer satisfaction (brand managers have known that for decades).
Could Apple have some clever interviewing technique, or data-mining mechanism, to find out exactly what the customers want?
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.
Misconception Insight1. Its not about the actual product. Sorry, but your customers will not primarily be
interested in your product.
2. Rather, they view your product as a tool a tool to achive some other task. And it is the urge to complete that other task that motivates your customers.
A painter cares about making a painting not playing with the brush.
He might know a few things about brushes, and spend some money on them. But the main task for the painter is to get that image out of his head, and project it for others to see.
3. If you can offer a tool that helps users achieve that underlying task they have, then they will become your customers, and your product will become a success.
So what you need to doin order to find out if your product will become a success, is to figure out just why the customers will choose to use your product in the first place.
Stop spending time on understanding the customers (too complex).Instead, start focusing on understanding the actual task driving the user the mission it needs to complete?
To find that answer, you will need to study what the customers entire environment looks like when that mission is complete. And be open to anything you find in that study, because customers often dont buy what the company thinks its selling.
If you manage to create a new, easy or cheap product that helps the customers finish that underlying task more enjoyably than your competitors do, you will have the recipe for a disruptive innovation.
Richard BunkSAAB Combitech
So, what are the underlying tasks that motivate us consumers to pick up the smartphone every day?
Did Sony Ericsson ensure our tasks are completed?Did Nokia?Did Apple?