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Big Bang Disruption

Business Survival in the Age of Constant Innovation

By Larry Downes and Paul Nunes
13-minute read
Audio available
Big Bang Disruption: Business Survival in the Age of Constant Innovation by Larry Downes and Paul Nunes

Big Bang Disruption (2014) explains how disruptive innovations are endangering many of today’s businesses, and how to keep your business alive despite these disruptions. It describes the four stages of market disruption and provides 12 rules that’ll help you get through them.

  • Executives and managers
  • Investors and entrepreneurs
  • Economists and strategists

Larry Downes is an internet industry analyst whose columns for both Forbes and CNET discuss the effects of disruptive technology on policy and business. His other books include Unleashing the Killer App (1998) and The Laws of Disruption (2009).

Paul Nunes is the global head of research at the Accenture Institute for High Performance and a senior editor at Outlook, Accenture’s journal on leadership. He’s also the author of Jumping the S-Curve (2011).

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Big Bang Disruption

Business Survival in the Age of Constant Innovation

By Larry Downes and Paul Nunes
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Big Bang Disruption: Business Survival in the Age of Constant Innovation by Larry Downes and Paul Nunes
Synopsis

Big Bang Disruption (2014) explains how disruptive innovations are endangering many of today’s businesses, and how to keep your business alive despite these disruptions. It describes the four stages of market disruption and provides 12 rules that’ll help you get through them.

Key idea 1 of 8

Exponential technologies enable innovators to upset markets by creating low-priced, high-quality products.

Remember paper road maps? Those awkwardly large, folded sheets that once hibernated in almost every glove compartment, waiting to be consulted by turned-around motorists? Today, these unwieldy guides, with their fold creases and crackling pages, are all but extinct.

Analog roadmaps went out with a bang – the big bang that was the introduction of GPS systems to the driving public. In 2000, Garmin, a company whose sales had increased throughout the 1990s, sold three million GPS devices while the sale of paper road maps began to decrease.

At the time, relatively inexpensive GPS was an example of a Big Bang Disruptor: an innovative product that’s both superior to – and, usually, more affordable than – competing products on the market.

But it wasn’t long before Garmin’s devices were blasted away by another big bang.

In 2009, after the advent of the smartphone, Google introduced Google Maps: A service that, because it was free and easy to update, could be improved at a pace equal to modern-day needs. From the moment it hit the market, it proved to be the best and cheapest navigational technology available – and it still is.

But what made it possible for Google to oust Garmin just as Garmin had ousted analog maps? Well, Google took advantage of exponential technologies.

For a technology to qualify as exponential, its performance and value must have a pattern of exponential increase – doubling, for instance, on an annual or biennial basis. Cloud-based computing – data-processing or data-storage software that runs online – is one example of an exponential technology.

Equipped with such technologies, a Big Bang Disruptor can upend an established market.

This is exactly what Google did. In fact, Google Maps leverages the power of cloud-based computing, as well as taking advantage of the internet and smartphones.

All this means that Google is able to offer Google Maps for free. Indeed, it’s now the default app on pretty much all smartphones, which guarantees that it’s used by millions of people every day.

It’s hard to imagine a bigger bang than that.

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