Amateur note #19: Misunderstanding disruption

Disruption is a loved word in the entrepreneurial scenes, not only in Silicon Valley but also in Europe. A value, a word describing a value, often connected to the tech scene. It is believed to belong to this scene, as the word and the value «startup». But does it belong only there?

Recently I read an article on Bloomberg BusinessweekDisruptive Startups That Don’t Get Funded , mentioning Paul Polak’s TEDx talk how disruptive, massively scalable for-profit businesses serving those who have the least can be, if products are designed for those markets.

There is no doubt that technology changes our lives, meaning mostly those of us who are living in the Western part of the world, in privileged areas. So if technology changes lives and emerges economy, development etc. Why is there still aid industry? Why there are still people on this planet who do not have access to basics like e.g. clean water.

This is no  rant against technology, but a note to the business models that are not designing products for emerging markets, new growing segments of the market e.g. India and not combining the tools of web 2.0 and intercultural development.

Some days ago, I read in an business email that the word, value «startup» means technology startup. All the buzzing around a new economy, around disruption is only about products that are not designed to be sold to a larger market? Products that are more like gadgets that will be out of fashion quickly because of the development of technology?

Fact is that companies go through a process of development and research for markets. In my humble opinion, there is a lot to be done, researched and developed in emerging markets. Product design, design thinking are tools given far before the so-called 2.0 revolution.

Of course, we need technology, not iphone applications based on the old-fashioned advertising model, but technology that facilitates product design process and actual product development. Not technology for technology’s sake, not companies for companies’ sake, but mission driven, sustainable and developing models that innovate, disrupt the market by creating solutions to real problems.

Also have a look at:
Pop!Tech: Paul Polak on Scaling the Bottom of the Pyramid
What took you so long? Foundation
The “Berliner Denkschrift”: The Inequality that Matters. By Hannes Klöpper.

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