Disruptive Innovation is Life Altering

Sunday, 29 June 2014 17:03
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Disruption is the big buzz phrase of the moment, just as game changer was in consumer products a few years ago. Both phrases tend to be overused, as they are intended to describe innovations that fundamentally alter industry dynamics. Shouldn't game changers represent life altering innovations, as well as industry altering ones? There are relatively few examples of truly disruptive innovations. That said, here are a few noteworthy ones.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

Disruptive Innovation Is Life Altering

"The term 'disruptive' is used today by marketers to describe just about anything that is more than just an incremental or evolutionary enhancement. I feel the true test for disruption should be that the innovation be life-altering."

3D printing is a terrific example of a disruptive technology, because it represents an accessible means to totally democratize the way a host of products can be created and sourced,and importantly, it can even revolutionize the economics of doing so. It also offers the ability to truly change people's lives, which is what I would describe as truly disruptive. The idea that someone could actually print a prosthetic limb or face is both fantastic (in the truest sense of the word) and truly remarkable. Yet, it is now possible and a reality. Here are noteworthy examples of both of these transformative uses of the technology:

Prosthetic limbs: http://3dprint.com/2438/50-prosthetic-3d-printed-hand/

Face replacement: http://gizmodo.com/5993147/how-3d-printing-gave-this-man-his-life-and-face-back

I learned of another example of a disruptive innovation the other week. The technological components individually are not transformative. However, the integrated system created by its developers most certainly is. The innovation is a bionic pancreas, which uses smartphone technology and subcutaneous insulin and glucagon delivery in a closed loop system. It automatically monitors blood sugar every 5 minutes and makes adjustments to react to changes. This is life altering technology for Type 1 diabetes sufferers as it totally eliminates the need for patients to manually check glucose levels at predetermined intervals and to react to changes.

Bionic pancreas: http://www.artificialpancreas.org

Arguments can certainly also be made for fracking as a transformative technology, as it has totally and fundamentally altered the outlook for global fossil fuel supply and their underlying economics. The technology is not without its detractors, but it is without a doubt a true game changer.

I am aware of similar systems in development to deliver additional human organ functions. Absolutely remarkable. Disruptive innovation is not necessarily about higher technology. It can also apply to the introduction of low cost but highly effective technologies that enable farmers in developing countries to store their produce and crops without losing significant percentages to disease and infestation.

We live in a time when amazing things continue to occur at an accelerating pace. This is an exciting time to be alive. Now if only we can do something about the planet heating up and the ice caps melting. That would be truly life altering, eh?

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.


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