In the world of entrepreneurship, driven and dedicated business leaders want to either disrupt their respective industries, or offer innovation in a pool of monotony. The question is, what exactly defines those two terms?

Disruption is often referred to as a quick, rapid change within a business that extends past normal operations. For example, a company that begins to over serve its regular clientele will leave an untapped market behind. Disruption occurs when that untapped market is then focused on, serving customers who have fallen by the wayside, thus creating a newer market.

This can happen in nearly any business. The hospitality industry, for instance, can experience disruption quite often if a specific chain of restaurants caters to the upper class, followed by similar services and meals being offered at a lower price for those in lower classes.

Innovation can also be defined as evolution. This is essentially taking the next step in making one’s ideas a reality without succumbing to the fear of presenting something brand new; a facet of business that can go hand-in-hand with disruption.

That being said, disruptive companies are those who embrace innovation, leading to a change in their respective markets. However, not all innovations necessarily cause a change. Businesses need to adapt consistently in order to remain successful, evolving with the needs of the market.

Neither of these processes happen immediately. According to a study conducted Capgemini, roughly 74% of businesses see actual disruption after about two years.

Netflix is another great example of a market disruption. Starting out as a mailing company, they did not see a great amount of success early on. But, they remained in business each day until they adapted to an online streaming platform that would effectively render older business models nearly useless i.e. Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, and Redbox.

Netflix successfully adapted to the changing times and has since become one of the leading businesses in online streaming. Understanding the difference between disruption and innovation can help businesses decide how they need to adapt in addition to why. Regardless of the industry a specific business is in, updating and molding their operations with the constantly changing market is absolutely vital if they wish to remain successful.

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