Innovative disruption is more significant today than ever. This is thanks to the increasing number of complex problems humanity needs to solve to save ourselves and our planet.
Disruptive innovation theory, promoted by the late Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School in his books, promote that there are three type of innovation scenarios: Sustaining innovation where we make better products for an established market, Low-end market innovation for over-served segments for low cost focused market, and new market innovation for early adopters’ market.
One of the best examples of how disruptive innovation works is this year’s khareef Dhofar, in the southern part of the Sultanate of Oman. I would argue that our Job To Be Done (JTBD) is to facilitate for diverse types of investors to play a part in reaching our socio-economic goals in the three different aforementioned disruptive innovation scenarios.
Low-end innovation scenario in Dhofar
This bottom-up approach is evident in the hundreds of new trendy cafés that opened up in this post-pandemic era. Dhofar has one of the highest demand rates in the food and beverage industry. This is excellent news for culinary enthusiasts, chefs, food hygiene specialists and the municipality that licenses food and beverage businesses.
On the other hand, culinary service satisfy our need for food leaving in our other needs like the need for belonging and shelter and self-actualisation which is something to be desired.
It also creates excess of many food entrepreneurs which breeds more entrepreneurs in the same field which in turn harms the diversity of SMEs and startups ecosystem.
Sustaining innovation scenario
High end products attract higher margins when facilitated properly. While low-end innovation has proven to be a point of strength for Dhofar for example there is little evidence that a better products ecosystem in developing in any areas other than food.
The fact that almost all innovations are focused on bottom up, low-cost innovations mean that imports of high-end products will remain high, with higher income segment in the society infusing much needed cash abroad as opposed in local markets.
New market innovation
Tesla, the electronic vehicle company democratised e-mobility, while SpaceX privatised space exploration.
New market disruptive innovations, such as these two examples, for markets that adopt new ideas and products capitalise on its thriving innovation ecosystem. This scenario is the rarest because the founders need to stimulate their products’ own demand.
‘Disrupt or be disrupted’ whether in beautiful Dhofar or any other endowed region in the Sultanate of Oman or the world, this is the general rule in Disruptive Innovation Theory.
Our markets have a unique opportunity with forward thinking leadership, financial resilience and an accumulative wealth of history in innovations by previous scholars in our diverse cultures.
This post-pandemic inflation crisis is a blessing in disguise for us to explore how we can disrupt what’s not working in our markets, before we are disrupted.