The strategies have changed – competition has become more fierce and competitors are bringing their A game to the table. It is time to shake things up and disrupt the industry to become the leader in it.

Biggest Industries Ripe for Disruption

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In this article, you will learn about 1) the basics on disruption, 2) how to recognize whether an industry is ripe for disruption, 3) 15 ways to disrupt an industry, and 4) what industries look like they are ripe for disruption.


Disruption is the process of breaking down the status quo; it is about changing the rules of the game and completely deviating from the way things are normally done. Disruption allows the company applying it, to take charge of the industry through radical changes.

This change can be brought in the business strategy, through technology or through the introduction of a radical new product/service, thus allowing the introducer or the change initiator to become the market leader.

When you are operating in an industry that has become stagnant, you feel like there is no way forward, and you cannot capture more market even if you become more efficient at how you are doing things, then it is time to play the disruption card. You can crush your competitors by introducing a new product/service, for example, creating a new niche in the existing industry, allowing you to leap ahead of the competition. You can implement a new technology that allows you to cut down costs by a huge margin, expanding your profit margin and allowing you to grow quickly to reap the benefits of large-scale production.

Either way, disruption can help you destroy the old and bring a refreshing change that helps you take the lead, making your competitors sweat!

These slides will show you some bigger trends driving disruption in many industries.

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If you are a small start-up, the best way to increase your chances of success are to enter an industry, which is ripe for disruption. Entering such an industry with a new strategy or a new offering for customers is a good way for getting noticed by them. In a stagnant industry, bringing in a change would be refreshing for the customers and they would be more than willing to accept you and do business with you.

1. Examine the Market

Look closely, closer than before. You will not always find an obvious problem in an industry that points it out to be the one ready for disruption. In order to identify this, you have to look closer to identify problems that are smaller but critical. These problems are more subtle in nature and have been gone unnoticed because customers and companies both have accepted these problems as a norm.

Companies are not pushed to solve these problems; they have become complacent due to past successes. Since they are already successful in their operations, they feel that there is no need to change. Such an industry would qualify as a good target for disruption.

Moreover, by doing what they have always been doing, the companies reach a point where they begin to lose their connection with the customers. Assuming that the customers are also happy with how things are, they stop listening to them. Complacent companies in this way fall victim to a critical behavioral problem – they begin losing touch with their customers. In reality though, the customers do desire a change and it is you who needs to make use of this opportunity.

By looking closely, you can identify whether the existing companies in an industry have become complacent and have lost touch with their customers. If you recognize the unresolved issues of such an industry and resolve them, you would delight the customers, break the status quo, and leave the competitors behind. If the industry leaders have become a little too overconfident with their position and are not taking new entrants seriously, it may just be the industry for you to disrupt and enter. Since industry leaders will not be worried about you, a new entrant, they may not make an effort to ruin your start-up, giving you a perfect opportunity to plant your foundations and strengthen your start-up. Before they know it, it will be too late for them and you would have captured a big chunk of their market.

Another way to recognize whether an industry is ripe for disruption upon examination is if the companies are following an obsolete business model. Due to the rapid change in technology, a business model can become obsolete quicker than before. This opens up an opportunity for you to enter the industry with a newer, more refined business model and create a storm in the industry.

Look through the Eyes of the Customer

The best way to understand a situation from another person’ point of view is to step in their shoes – this is how disruption works too. Look at the industry from the viewpoint of a customer, not the company. This vision will bring a whole new perspective and help you identify opportunities for disruption.

Using the existing products and/or services as a customer will let you experience the industry as a user. Use your imagination and observation skills to identify issues and/or opportunities for improvement and that will be your basis for disrupting the industry.

2. Never Underestimate Payoffs

The thinking that big payoffs require a major investment may hold you back or make you think that a particular industry is not feasible for you to disrupt or that you strategy may not be successful in disrupting. However, that may not be the case. You may be able to earn big by making a minor adjustment in any aspect. Do not think that a small change will bring small payoffs – if the small change makes a big impact, your payoffs are going to be huge too.

For example, let us say that you want to start a new online food delivery outlet by utilizing a new route that you have identified which will enable you to reach the customers quicker than your competitors. This change does not require a huge investment on your part but if the delivery time really matters to your customers, you can capture a huge market with your strategy and earn significant payoffs.

3. Don’t Take Assumptions for Granted

As time passes on, there are beliefs and assumptions established in an industry that the current companies do not question. If you want to disrupt the industry, you have to question these assumptions and not accept them – that is from where the change will begin.

Do not assume that the rules cannot be changed because if that was true, the concept of disruption would not exist. Do not just assume that the customers will not like the change you are about to introduce.

4. Trim the Fat

As industries get old, they accumulate a lot of fluff. This fluff comprises of elements or add-ons to products and services that the customers no longer value, but are charged for. For example, fancy office décor adds to the company’s cost of production, which is translated in the price of products/services they offer. However, the office décor may not really be of importance to the customers. By changing this aspect, you may be able to disrupt an industry, cut your costs and takeover the competition by offering customers what they actually value and thus are willing to pay for readily!

5. A Real Life Example of Formula One

Almost everyone knows what Formula One is all about, even those who may not watch it regularly. Formula One shows the above-mentioned signs of being an industry that may be ripe for disruption.

Take for example the continued success of Formula One over the history. This success has made Formula One complacent, as it continues to have car manufacturers spending big bucks developing Formula One cars. A good number of F1 teams have made good money from the success of Formula One and so have the people in the management.

However, when you look deeper inside, do you realize that there is a big decline in the number of people who watch Formula One live? This is because Formula One has lost touch with its customers – the fans of Formula One. They have been so focused on managing media deals since TV viewing has been bringing in a major chunk of revenues for Formula One, they have ignored the fact that the race stands are almost empty.

Recently, Formula E has entered the car racing industry. Formula One is not paying them much attention, disregarding them as a competitor. Lastly, if you look at the business model of Formula One, it is based on getting TV deals. But can it rely on it in the coming future considering that the media will become increasingly fragmented in the future? Also, bear in mind that in future, marketing will become highly personalized and customized – something, which is opposite to F1’s current strategy.


Are you tired of the inertia in your industry? Is the inertia in any other industry bothering you to the point where you are ready to shake things up? Disruption is one of the wisest ways to launch your own start-up and ensure its chances of success. Here are 15 ways to disrupt an industry:

#1 Make Shortcuts

By reducing the channel between product/service production and delivery to customer, you can make it easier for customers to access the product or service. This is called making shortcuts. It allows you to make it convenient for the customers to utilize the product/service.

#2 Challenge the Existing Boundaries

Who is to say that the current way of service/product delivery cannot be changed? Challenge the limitations and find out a radical way to go around the roadblocks to bring a change in the industry. For example, Uber Taxi is available through a mobile application. Users simply use the app to request for a taxi, which reaches them within minutes. Before their launch, did we think it was possible?

#3 Dramatically Reduce Complexity

Ever found yourself wanting to place an order online but it takes you weeks to finally place that order? Is it because the website is overly complicated and you are always procrastinating to place the order because of it? How would you feel if a much lesser complicated website was launched? Of course, you would love it! So you can disrupt an industry by making the product/service less complicated.

#4 Removal of an Important Element of the Product/Service

Redesigning an existing product/service in a way that you take away a seemingly important element is a great way for catching the attention of customers. You must however, provide an alternative to the element so that the product/service’s workability does not get affected.

#5 Be Brave Enough to go Digital

If not for Kindle, could you have imagined an alternative way for reading books? If not for eBay, would you have thought of a different way to auction things off without having a yard sale? It is the era of technology. If an industry has still not gone online, you can be the one to disrupt it by taking it online!

#6 Slash Down Prices or Introduce the Freemium Concept

Making international calls once was an expensive affair – until Skype was launched and it became much easier and affordable for everyone to stay in touch with their close-ones abroad. So is there a way you can disrupt the industry by cutting down the prices significantly or even offering customers a product/service for free?

#7 Learn from Other Innovative Industries

Get inspired from other industries and learn which of their elements you can incorporate in your industry, the industry you want to disrupt. For example, you can analyze the TV industry to see how they bring innovation in their screens. You can use this analysis to redesign the screens of mobiles.

#8 Develop a Closed Ecosystem

Create a new closed ecosystem within the industry through a radical change, thus winning customer loyalty for your business. Consider Google; they have a very strong following and users of Google rarely rely on or use any other search engine. You can create this closed ecosystem with suppliers or vendors as well, getting good bargains and in return supplying the same product/service at significantly lower costs than your competitor.

#9 Seek Out New Target Groups

Fast food was enjoyed by adults until McDonalds introduced the Happy Meal and KFC Chicky Meal. There are similar companies who have tweaked the traditional offering and targeted a new segment of customers, thus disrupting the industry.

#10 Do the Opposite

When the cell phone industry started producing smaller cellphones, Samsung with its Note Phone came up with a design with a bigger screen. iPhone’s newer versions including the iPhone 6 also has a bigger screen as compared to the iPhone 4. Doing the opposite of the trend is a great way to disrupt an industry.

#11 Combining Different Types of Innovations

There are different types of innovations including technological, service, product and business model innovation. You can combine a mix of these innovations and disrupt an industry on multiple fronts.

#12 Do the Impossible

Did you ever think it was possible to build a rotating hotel or a bridge underwater? Well both of them now exist in this world. Remember nothing is impossible and doing something, which was thought to be impossible, will definitely disrupt an industry.

#13 Look for New Business Models

Put your thinking cap on and come up with a new business model to implement in the industry. A new business model can change the processes involved and lead to decreased cost of production and/or increased quality of output and/or ease of delivery, amongst numerous other things.

#14 Downgrade

In an attempt to renovate, change and re-invent, sometimes the basics of a product/service are covered up, so much that the essence of the product/service gets lost. For example, in an attempt of creating a complete experience at salons and beauty parlors, so much stress is laid on creating the perfect environment that the quality of haircut may get compromised. Rather than enhancing the ambiance, how about you focus on giving a top quality haircut instead?

#15 Sharing is the New Buying

You can collaborate with a company in the same industry or a company in another industry to come up with something new that can disrupt an industry. For example, you may collaborate or share resources with a web development company to come up with a business of providing baby sitters and child minders online.


There are some companies that keep things in their industries on a roll, thus reducing the chances of having someone disrupt the industry. Here are examples of such companies:

Apple: Keeps reinventing its products using technology innovation, product redesign, etc. It keeps its customers on the toes, waiting anxiously for a newer model. They look forward to new model launches and continue discussing the updates for months!

Netflix: Netflix is the perfect example of a service concept, which allows the company to stay in-tune with its customers, always! It is TV on demand and it always provides what its customers request! Also, Netflix is TV on demand conveniently! It offers its customers to make use of their internet connection to watch whatever they want.

Uber: Uber taxi is providing customers with convenient transportation through the use of technology. It is dependent on a modern business model and uses technology that the customers are comfortable using, that is, their cellphones!

TransferWise: TransferWise is a company that has come up with a concept of providing customers with money exchange services at a greater convenience and lesser cost. It has disrupted the traditional banking services industry and has created a strong place for itself. The owner of TransferWise is determined to remain on toes and keep bringing changes in order to continue capturing the market.


Airlines have been exploiting customers with low quality services and high fare rates for quite long, not to mention the flight delays and lost baggage. The problem is that airlines have become complacent with their processes and since not everyone owns a private jet, customers will have to keep tolerating mediocre services for high fares, until someone comes and disrupt this industry.

Another example of an industry ripe for disruption is the cell phone carrier industry. The cell phone carriers keep enticing customers with low cost, better quality packages but these packages come with a hidden cost. If you calculate, these packages actually make you pay extra for services you never consume. This can be broken by a cell phone carrier that offers low-cost services while providing more value.

The credit card processing industry is another one ripe for disruption. This is because credit card companies have the monopoly of charging fees on credit card transactions. They charge the merchants fees for processing credit card transactions, which is why at many shops you do not get either the facility or have to make a minimum purchase of a predetermined amount in order to avail the credit card payment facility.

Financial service providing industry is an industry ripe for disruption and already targeted by Fintech companies. This is because most of the customers availing the services of this industry lack the technical knowledge, thus allowing brokers, banks, financial consultants, and investment advisors to charge exorbitantly for their services.

Other industries that are ripe for disruption include the wine, cyber security, education, and the Government & Politics industry.


This is an era where complacency can get you in to trouble. Even if you are a leader in your industry, your leadership is not guaranteed since there are hungry competitors and new entrants eyeing the industry. Any weakness can become an opportunity for them to disrupt the industry and shake things up.

Only those companies that keep innovating and re-inventing themselves, stay in-tune with the customers’ requirements and keep offering them something of value at lower costs, are in a position to remain safe from being disrupted!

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