February 13th, 2012 | 2 MIN READ

3 Rules of Digital Disruption [And Why Any Business Can Be A Disruptor]

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

When you think of innovation and "digital disruption," it’s easy to point to Xbox Kinect, Amazon Kindle and Apple iAnything -- the platforms that have turned entire industries upside down. These innovations did not come quickly, easily or cheaply – and not every company will develop the technologies that change the world. But that doesn’t mean your business can’t be disruptive – no matter how "analog" your industry may be.

That’s the gospel Forrester's James McQuivey introduced with his Disruptor’s Handbook, and the message he shared with us in our latest webinar Enterprise Strategies for Capitalizing on 2012 Digital Disruption Trends (available on demand, free of charge).

Digital disruptors are the brands and businesses that embrace digital tools to transform disruptive thoughts into disruptive actions. They are "experience builders" that use digital tools to develop, test, market and distribute their products.

When companies adopt technology, they do old things in new ways; When companies internalize technology, they find disruptive new things to do.

When companies become disruptive:

1. They will build Better content experiences
2. That create Stronger customer relationships
3. Bringing it all to market Faster

And they do this, not by looking 5 years down the road, but by focusing on the adjacent possible – the intersection of the next most immediate thing that people really want, and matching it to the next immediate thing that you can provide.

For example, FitNow’s Lose It! app has disrupted the weight loss industry, not by taking on Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem head-on, but understanding what people want and need to help them lose weight.

The app enabled dieters keep track of daily calories. Next, it added a module for calories burned through activity.

A couple years later, it added a social component in response to the customer "want" of social support. But the feature was not a success. Lose It! users didn’t want to share their weight loss journeys with their Facebook friends, but with other people who were going through the same process. A few weeks of additional coding to transform the social piece to allow users to interact with newfound friends through the app resulted in a dramatic increase in engagement.

Adjacent possible ideas are easier to generate and can be tested quickly. This approach also allows you to fail faster and cheaper, and hold fast to what yields the most value.

Adjacent possibilities are all around us. What is stopping you from radically changing the way your customers experience and draw value from your products and services?

More secrets from the Digital Disruptor's Handbook are divulged in our latest webinar, check it out.

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