Disruptive Technologies - The innovator's Dilemma.
Retail industry is not new to waves of technology transformation. The first wave was the creation of microchip and computers; the second was internet and the third is all about social and mobile. The third wave is about disruptive innovation. A term coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christenson to describe an innovation in the field of technology that displaces an existing market and competitor. Some of the popular disruptive technologies are Augmented Reality, Interactive Television, Image Recognition and Connective Devices such as smart phones, tablets that have revolutionized the way customer shops today.
Disruption is like a double edged sword. It has helped many companies grow business and secure markets. For example, Twitter disrupted everything from news to information system. Apple has revolutionized the smart phone industry and emerged as a market leader. However, sometimes the deployment of disruptive technology has back fired. For example, Blockbuster failed to study the competition in Netflix before disrupting the DVD market. In another example, Kodak failed to disrupt as it didn't realize that women were no longer primary users of camera.
It is not uncommon for a retail company to ignore disruptive technology because it doesn't strengthen company goals. However, retailers can adopt low cost innovation, target smaller markets and gradually move upward in these markets. Retailers can also innovate by improving by their existing products and keeping up with personalized customer needs. The idea is not to flood markets with new technologies but to improve the positioning of a retailer's flagship products. Only the retailers which align disruptive technologies with company goals of profitability are likely to sustain in the long run.