One sunny afternoon a blue butterfly decided to sit on my car windshield. I watched—it was as if poetry paused only to lure me into this labyrinth of curiosity and wonder. I marveled at this beauty that defied all laws of evolution to become an innovation in itself. It is as if, in it's mission to unite mother earth and father sky it goes through its own complex stages of disruptive innovation. Coined by Prof. Clayton Christensen, in his book The Innovator's Dilemma, disruptive innovation is the process in which a product takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors.
Some examples of disruptive innovation include:
Retail medical clinic
Fixed line telephony
Full-service department stores
Traditional doctor’s offices
In the portable trade show arena, the story of Skyline seems to be a marvelous example of continual Disruptive Innovation at work. More than 20 years ago the portable pop-up solution created exhibiting opportunities for customers who otherwise could not afford to exhibit. Skyline gained impressive market share and defined portable exhibiting. With this growth in market share there arose a new class of customers who wanted more efficiency at a lesser cost. We saw the emergence of online vendors step in to fulfill the Theory of Disruptive Innovation. Skyline had to innovate in a new way to be more beneficial than the existing competitive products in the marketplace. It went through its own Disruptive Innovation and introduced Arrive, an even more portable solution for trade show exhibitors. It made the grand entry in the market by winning the 2010 Best New Product Contest. Only time will tell if Arrive will be another paradigm shifting blue butterfly.