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Disruptive Innovation: Easier for Non-consumers to Access

Posted by Chip Block on September 15, 2018 6:25 PM EDT
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One of the most effective drivers of adoption for any new product or service is ease.  Whether it...

...is ease of use (as mentioned in my last blog that simplicity and low complex make new products easy to use), ease of purchase, ease of access or ease of maintaining....easy is a powerful word when it comes to disruptive innovations.

It seems to some observers a rather paradoxical phenomenon that disruptive innovations actually drive consumption among consumers or organizations who otherwise are not routine purchasers of the products and services that the disruptive innovation seeks to replace.  Why would someone or some entity choose to purchase an inferrior, cheaper, "just good enough" product or service?  Why wouldn't they simply try to find ways to fund the more expensive, more sophisticated, better known primary solution?

And why is ease of access, use, storage, maintenance, purchasing and sharing with others be such a compelling driver of purchase, when the other features seem "just good enough"?

Once again, the wisdom of the establishment in a given market aims to offer better and better products that stand apart from competitors on some dimension of performance or quality component that puts the product or service out of reach for the mass market of consumers. Often competition drives the creation and ebedding of some features that simply make the established product or service too expensive, too hard to use, too difficult to maintain and not easy to share with others.  In fact, one of the key features of many of the disruptive products and services that quickly gain traction and begin to shift markets is convenience.

When I say convenience, I mean it in the context of the many ways one might think of convenience.  If a product or service can improve in some way a consumers life by adding an element of convenience, it will have high value. If the product itself is more convenient to purchase and understand how to use, it will gain some advantage even if it fails on other dimensions or features that distinguish market leaders.  For commercial consumers or business and organizational entities that purchase goods and services, saving time and money are huge benefits and new products and services whose developers or owners aim to disrupt incumbent providers, the ease of accessing, buying, using, sharing, storing, servicing and replacing the product or service is a great feature that can immediately create a point of differentiation that matters for many would be consumers.

The word "easiier" can be considered to be its own acronym for the key features that disruptive innovations can bring to market to stand apart:

E= Effective (it works well and "gets the job done")

A= Affordable (not just cheaper than other options, but can be easily bought)

S= Simple (not hard to understand how to use and to explain to others)

I= Interactive (it can be shared or is aided by or aids social engagement)

E= Efficient (it doesn't take much time to use and may save users time)

R= Rewarding (in some way it can provide tangible or intangible rewards)

There is truth in the value that is created when things are rare, or in limited supply, or where it takes a significant level of expertise (or certification) to be a user of the product or service or where the quality and costs make the owner of the product or service seem special in some way.  These types of luxury or prestige or premier products or services will always find a market.  But disruptive innovations that grab "blue ocean" market segments don't aim for the top 10% of a market.  Rather, they often aim for the bottom 10% and quickly scale to reach the rest of the market.....and easiness is a feature that always plays a key part in that.

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