In this article, the author uses the analogy of invasive species to describe the essential attributes and dynamics of truly disruptive technology. As the author states:
“Disruptive’ has often been a label misused to describe ideas that are just simply different. We must ask ourselves what makes technologies truly disruptive versus a description of a technology that is simply different or incrementally sophisticated.”
The author identifies common attributes of invasive species and disruptive technologies:
- No Natural Predators
- Tolerance to Environment and Plasticity
- Voracious Appetite
- Dispersal Ability
These attributes redefine value exchange in an ecosystem by redefining the value network and making it difficult for existing species (the incumbents) to compete. The ‘invasive’ firms are opportunistic and adapt their value networks to respond to conditional variance in markets and industries.
The analogy is valuable for its insight but provides little guidance on what to do about an ‘invasive species’. Still, being forewarned is forearmed. Looking for the signs of an ‘invasive species’ can help a company be prepared and resilient when the inevitable happens.