Disruptive Innovations: Greatest Pain + Easiest to Measure

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Yesterday’s podcast excerpt with Tim Sanders, ended this way,

Joe, doesn’t that sound like sales? I mean, we have to solve a bunch of our little prospecting presentation closing problems just to get the right to solve the customer’s problem, and quality works exactly the same way. The one thing I would say that’s interesting is that the quality movement started in the heaviest, ugliest industries like manufacturing. It made its way over decades into services, into education and when I was an executive at Yahoo, as we saw Google overtake us, the quality movement hit UX, and the quality movement hit Web services, and that’s the way these things always work.

The answer Tim gave to my follow up question really got me thinking:

Joe:   What do you mean by why things always work? Did they hit the UX later? I mean, make that connection for me a little better.

Tim Sanders:  Disruptive technologies like the end of inspection replaced by statistical process control, that was very disruptive as a way of doing things. Disruptive innovations usually start where the pain is the greatest, and the reward is the easiest to measure. And then as the disruptive innovation begins to refine and become repeatable and scalable, much like a disease, it kind of seeks other things to infect. And so it sneaks its way around to the less painful, all the way to the almost impossible to measure results things, then that’s why it kind of started and how we made stuff to how delivered services, even including education, to the more modern how we communicate and how we find things, and that’s what I meant by that journey. And you see in all kinds of disruptive technologies.

For example, we see it in the sharing economy. The disruption of using distributed shared services to solve customer problems. We start in the ugliest of all industries – hospitality and taxis. You have Airbnb, and you have Uber. They started out there, and it’s really easy to measure the value, and it’s just starting to spread, isn’t it? 10 years from now, the sharing economy will probably infect everything that we do; not just how we acquire services, but how we do simple things like find solutions or even communicate and educate each other. All disruptive technologies take that journey.

About Tim Sanders: Tim has spent most of his career on the cutting edge of innovation and change. He was on the ground floor of the quality movement, the launch of the mobile phone industry and, most notably, the birth of the world wide web. Tim recently authored a new book, Dealstorming: The Secret Weapon That Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges.

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