How to be [Disruptively] Innovative

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As a tech company, we hear the word “innovation” get tossed around a lot. Even though it’s not as bad as some of its embarrassing buzzword cousins (e.g., “intrapreneurship”, “glocalization”, and, yes, the ever-mocked “synergy”), it can still sound pretty cliché, especially in tech circles.

Fact is, few companies provide breakthrough innovations, including VendAsta.

[Pause for collective gasp]

Yes, you heard correctly. A software company just admitted to not providing “breakthrough innovations”. That’s actually what’s unique about us: VendAsta is built on the principles of something just as powerful and just as profitable, something called “disruptive innovation” (and no, that’s not another ridiculous term from ‘Balderdash: Business Edition 2.0’).

Disruptive innovation transforms something that’s expensive, complicated, and accessible to a limited amount people into something that’s easy, affordable, and available to the masses. Ultimately, it leads to the Innovator’s Dilemma: should companies continue to serve their best customers with more expensive products, or should they defend their lower-margin clients against low-cost competition?

Take the auto industry, for example. Should Ford build more expensive vehicles for its higher-end customers or focus on building cheaper cars to ward off Hyundai and Kia? Most companies choose to go bigger and better; in other words, they think cheaper products will alienate their best clients, so they cut ties with less affluent customers and, voila, their competition (i.e., Korean car makers) suddenly dominate a new economy-class market.

That new economy-class market, by the way, is possible only with disruptive technology (technology that allows a business to offer an expensive product at a fraction of its current price). Watch this video starring A-List management celebrity Clay Christensen to get a clearer, more grandfatherly explanation of disruptive innovation.

So how does all of this relate to VendAsta and Reputation Management?

Well that’s just it — it has everything to do with VendAsta and Reputation Management. A few years ago, reputation intelligence software was available only through a few key players; they charged thousands of dollars a month for big enterprise companies to access it, and the software itself was highly technical and convoluted. We’ve been able to develop leaner tools that do virtually the same things for a fraction of the cost. Suddenly our users aren’t giant companies with million dollar PR budgets — they’re the small and medium size businesses in local markets across North America who have never had access to this kind of data before.

So here are a few things we’ve learned:

 

  • Build for the many
  • Make products affordable
  • Make products accessible
  • Focus on solving customer problems instead building features

Easier said than done, right? But by doing these four things, we’re bringing industry standard solutions to brand new customers. Remember: disruptive innovation isn’t about racing to the bottom of the old market; it’s about racing to the top of a new one.