Industry Disruptors: Using Foresight to Outmaneuver Minnows

innovation research and strategy 2
Identify disruptive forces and social shifts most likely to impact an organization and turn those threats into opportunities

What are industry disruptors? They are all concepts that started as ideas that challenged traditional business models, solved problems differently, reduced costs, or introduced an innovative approach – all while winning customers.

In the first article of a six-part series in partnership with Great Lakes GrowthWorks, we explored how creating a growth strategy framework is the first step toward solving innovation, business strategy, brand strategy, and other growth challenges. Here, we’ll dive into disruptor analysis, which is a key step in Innovation Research and Strategy.

Disruptor Analysis

Disruptive forces are changing the rules in virtually every industry. Social, market, and technological disruption creates new competitors, changes the way people interact with and buy brands, and can fundamentally alter the value proposition consumers will embrace. Foresight and the ability to know what to do with what you see are critical to an organization’s innovation success. An agile and proactive approach to identify “what is coming” and improve market share amidst disruption is needed.

Disruptor analysis, as a standalone offering or part of GrowthWorks’ Catapult™ approach, uncovers how the broader world is being disrupted and which challenger (“minnow”) brands and concepts are emerging. Comprehensive market scanning across a wide range of data reveals emerging market manifestations. This learning is combined with flow-of-money analysis, which captures and organizes capital investments in emerging spaces, and insights from subject matter experts. Disruptor analysis provides deeper insights than typical trend analysis – it goes further, translating learning into future scenarios and specific growth opportunities organizations can target.

It is important for organizations to look beyond their own markets and “ecosystems” to uncover forces that could result in big risks…or promising opportunities. Experiences potential customers are having with various platforms in various markets today may impact their expectations in other markets tomorrow. Think wireless chargers … now not just for smartphones (consumer electronics) but for forklifts (material handling/industrial equipment) and cars (battery electric vehicles).

How to Turn Industry Disruptors into Opportunities

While corporate innovation labs may be leading the charge in some circumstances, not every organization has internal resources available to drive innovation research and strategy. For middle-market companies looking to keep ahead of disruption and create value with innovation, outsourcing program activity may be most efficient. This is where Martec-GrowthWorks Innovation Research and Strategy can step in.

To embolden future-focused strategy and innovation, leadership teams need:

  • An understanding (and examples) of how disruption might manifest in the market
  • Evidence-based learning on the impact disruption may have on specific categories, products, services, and customer behavior
  • Clear direction on how to leverage disruption for sustainable growth

Minnows are nipping at established players and increasingly disrupting markets and gaining share … across every industry impacting B2B, B2C, and B2B2C models. Why? Because when an innovative concept is deployed successfully, it can bring new users and make inroads with customers through products or services that are cheaper, more exciting, or easier to use. We’re here to help organizations identify, research, and leverage disruption – not just to defend against it, but to be the minnow that innovates around industry disruptors and establishes big growth opportunities.

The Innovation Research and Strategy series is co-led by The Martec Group, a global market research and consulting firm based in metro Detroit, and Great Lakes GrowthWorks, a growth strategy and innovation consulting firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Next in the series: Market maps … how to size emerging markets and determine the “size of prize” through research.

>> Download the Innovation Research and Strategy eBook today.

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