Sherman Ray, Publisher, Editor
In the past 10 years we have seen an explosion in innovation. Products which leave our jaws on the floor seem to come out of Silicone Valley weekly. And indeed, new developments are coming to the market in increased numbers.
Many of these products are landing on the showroom floors of tried and true markets blasting trusted brands out of the water. Why? Because the product is not the same ole, same old, it is what we call a “Disrupter”.
To be a disrupter is to create a product, service, or way of doing things which displaces the existing market leaders and eventually replaces them at the helm of the sector. Disruptors are generally entrepreneurs, outsiders, and idealists rather than industry insiders or market specialists.
Disrupters come into a realm and shake things up. The shoe industry was boring, until the sneaker came to the fore. All of the sudden every kid in the 50’s ditched their penny loafers for a pair of Converse All-stars and the rest as they say is history.
Here are 5 Tips to become a disrupter in Business
Find a Different Use
One of my favorite artists is Lady Gaga. She is truly an artist. But one of the things which sets her apart from all her competitors is her ability to take something and use it for a different purpose. Take her patented meat suit. The crazy lady from the Midwest dawned an entire ensemble made from stretched meat.
You can say what you want but you will never forget that meat suit. The same can be said in business. Be an innovator by taking the usual and making it into something unusual. Repurpose that potted plant and make it into a hat, glasses, or a giant drinking cup. Let your mind run free. You are only limited by your imagination.
Create a Signature Style
Let us stay on the Lady Gaga theme. Gaga has her own style of doing everything, from the way she dresses to the way she sings. Nothing is normal. That would be boring and not GAGA.
Business is the same way. Create your own signature style and let the competition copy you. Why sell something that everyone else is already selling. Give it your own flair and stamp of approval. Apple is forever putting their style on products. They have become synonymous with the Apple brand.
Demonstrate an Innovative Design
Elon Musk is the quintessential designer guy. Recently his SpaceX company put two men into orbit and then on the Space station. Now NASA could have put together a program and propelled our intrepid astronauts into space using a boring rocket, but Musk and his team came up with a Dragon rocket propelled by 4 Merlyn engines.
The design of the SpaceX vehicle was more exciting that the project. The reason? The innovative Design of the space vehicle and its name. In business innovation does not just stop with aesthetics, it can extend to the name or color of the product, service, or design.
Do you think it was an accident that Burger King came up with The Whopper? Or ski companies come up with the most tricked out color and design schemes for their clothing lines? It is all about disrupting the market. Anyone can sell a solid green ski suit, but put some flashy stripes, slashes, and pops, now we are talking about sales.
Take it Apart and Put it Back Together
One of my favorite cable stations is the Food Network, specifically the Chopped competition show. Great chefs must take ordinary items and make mouth-watering menu items. Imagine, you get a bottle of soda pop and a bag of Reese’s Pieces, or better yet a McDonald’s Hamburger Happy Meal.
The idea of deconstructing a product and making something new out of it is a time-honored practice. The only difference is to be a disrupter you must make something else out of it. Just the exercise of creating something from something else will get your imagination cooking, (Pardon the pun)
Imagine you live on a planet where water is not only limited but it is scarce. Your job is to create a process or machine that will produce all the clean, drinkable water needed to service a village, GO!
The idea of augmented reality is to put yourself in an impossible or difficult situation and given the task to create something to solve a problem. The engineers at NASA were put in this very same situation when the Apollo 11 moon shot got into mechanical trouble and they had to create an air filter out of the materials left on the lunar module.
In business, it is not always the guy who makes the shoe or the pair of dice that wins. It is the guy who makes the drone or the space pen that wins. Think outside the box. Do not be a conformist, be a Disrupter. Pick an industry, sit down with pen and pencil or better yet a cat and caterpillar and imagine what you can do.