Disruption is the process whereby a new entrant into a market or industry challenges the established players by introducing a new business model or technology that fundamentally changes the way the market operates. This can lead to significant changes in the competitive landscape, but also to benefits for consumers in the form of new products and services, lower prices and greater choice.

A disruptive innovation is one that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades) by displacing established market-leading firms, products and alliances. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, usually first by targeting a different group of consumers in a new market and later by lowering prices in an existing market.

Disruption can occur in any industry, but is particularly common in technology-driven markets where rapid advances in hardware, software and connectivity create new opportunities and challenges. Some examples of disruptive companies and technologies are:

  • Uber, which has turned the traditional taxi and ride-hailing market on its head by introducing a platform that directly connects drivers and passengers and allows dynamic pricing based on demand.
  • Airbnb has disrupted the traditional hotel and accommodation market by launching a platform that directly connects travellers and hosts and enables peer-to-peer rentals of private homes and flats.
  • Netflix has disrupted the traditional television and film rental market by introducing a platform through which films and television shows can be streamed online and watched on demand.

Disruption also brings challenges for the companies and industries affected, as they may find it difficult to adapt to the new market conditions and compete with the new entrants. Some companies may fail or be bought out by competitors, while others succeed because they have embraced the new technologies and business models.

Overall, disruption can be seen as a force for change and progress, as it drives companies and industries to innovate, adapt and improve, ultimately leading to better products, services and experiences for consumers.