Information Systems Integration – Spring 2017

Munir Mandviwalla

Integrative Thinking Eludes New Startup

Imagine the many working processes running on a car’s computer at any given point in time. Now imagine anyone with $69 and the desire to experiment can read and write to the car’s memory effectively changing it’s software.

Integrative thinking is the practice art of taking all factors into consideration and not accepting an either/or solution in favor of finding a creative way to approach the problem wherein tension is handled effectively. User customized firmware running in the car can certainly lead to creative solutions but is it possible for hobbyists to take a heuristic approach, especially without the proper means of testing? 

At the same time, a popular consultant recently stated his firm is handling 2-4 tech startup closures in a week. Should startups take a more integrative approach when attempting to disrupt an industry? For example, Dinner Lab thought pop up restaurants would be a great idea to a single problem but didn’t consider the difficulties of finding qualified chefs with a freelancer’s schedule. 

Wanna hack your car? Macchina is a plug-and-vroom solution

The ‘Terminator’ of startups says he’s seeing two to four wind-downs a week

Dinner Lab shuts down after failing to find a sustainable business model

Carbon Laws & the Catalyzation of Disruptive Innovations

Among the many different ways for disruptive innovation to arise, one avenue to consider in this day and age is through the introduction of carbon laws. With the growing interest in and necessity for sustainability, renewables are becoming more and more popular. Director of the Climate & Energy College at the University of Melbourne, Malte Meinshausen, claims “Regions that make way for future-proof renewable energy and storage investments will turn a zero-emissions future into an economic opportunity.” A shift towards renewables and different sources of energy will undoubtedly bring about a new wave of disruptive innovations.

Can you think of another example of a time that government regulations brought about disruptive innovations? Have we already been introduced to any disruptive innovations surrounding the recent interest in sustainability and renewable energies?

Airline Industry Shake-up

Over the past 50 years of air travel, there has not been much progress and innovation when it comes to the technology surrounding flights. With such dramatic advances in computers and technology over recent years, you would expect planes with faster speeds and other advanced features to be more popular. With the realization that technology is available to bring a new age of flying, start-ups are beginning to figure out how to harness all this technology to bring flights at supersonic speeds at business class prices. If these airline were to succeed, it would disrupt the airline industry with a sustaining innovation. These start-up would bring better products to the established business class market. More advanced airplanes would allow business professionals to more efficiently travel for work by getting them to where they need to be faster and potentially providing a better infrastructure for employees to complete work while on a flight.  

Do you think that the failure of traditional airline companies to continually innovate will allow this industry to be taken over by innovative start-ups?  What obstacles do you see these start-ups running into?

Yet another post about disruptive innovations

Our discussions concerning disruptive innovation theory has lead us to many examples of innovations that fit multiple descriptions. However, most disruptions fit one mold better than the others and if not you reach a situation like we discussed with Twitter where the company doesn’t tailor its disruption to fit a successful mold. You can also have a situation where the company trying to sell a disruption gets the question of its own type wrong. The dynamic between fit bits and dedicated smart watches like the Apple Watch illustrates a potential example of this. While we were left debating this, the fit bit can be categorized as a low-end disruption because it consolidates a lot of technologies in one package. It’s a watch, a pedometer, it tells you when you get a text message ect. While you could make a point that the Apple Watch does the exact same thing, the price of that product will prevent it from succeeding as a proper low end disruption. For that reason, you see a lot more people with fit bits than Apple Watches.


Do you see smart watches failing for the above reasoning?

Do you think that disruptions success is at determined by who they fit one of three types we’ve studied? It so, than to what degree does that determine success?

What Disruption Looks Like

In modern times we have a jaded view of what a disruptive innovation is, usually we look at the iPhone and point to them as shining examples of disruption, but the transistor radio was just as a large disruptor. Before the transistor radio, radios were seen as furniture; decorative pieces that took up a large amount of energy. The transistor radio was significantly smaller than any other radio on the market, but it sacrificed audio quality, for size, and price. So the transistor radio changed the radio industry from the Low-end and new market. Large furniture radios suddenly had to change their strategies, and forced to concentrate on their high-end radios as transistor radios were cheaper and portable. After some years, all virtually all radios were transistor radios, and the sound quality was improved. It’s useful to look far into the past for technology for perspective on advancements, and not always the last 20 years.

What’s another old disruptive innovation you can think of?

What could non-tansistor radio manufacturers have done to stay relevant in the market?

Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare

medical photoTechnology in healthcare has been rapidly developing over the past decade. Disruptive innovations have changed the way that patients and doctors interact. This provides several benefits both for the health of the patient as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of doctors. In many cases it can also significantly reduce healthcare costs for patients and their insurers. One example of disruptive innovation in healthcare is home health monitoring systems. Home health monitoring uses affordable technology or in many cases technology that patients may already own such as their smart devices or computers to keep them in contact with their physicians without going into the office. Doctors monitor patients status remotely to ensure that prescribed treatments are working properly and also more quickly identify problems that may require further action. This is disruptive to the old system of patients mostly having to monitor themselves when they are not in the office. This new system has several benefits. For one thing, patients do not have to visit their doctor’s office nearly as frequently. This reduces wastes of the doctors time for issues that end up being unimportant, allowing them to spend more time doing research or caring for other patients. Additionally, this also benefits the patient because they do not waste their own time on unnecessary office visits, they also do not waste money on the assoicated costs of going to the office. 


How do you think that disruptive innovation might continue to impact the healthcare industry going forward?

When to Move into Disruptive Technologies

Technologies are being adopted at a much faster rate than ever before, making it difficult to know which disruptive technology is truly disruptive, and if so, when an organization should implement the new technology to obtain a competitive advantage, rather than play catch-up. A helpful model to examine is the technology adoption life cycle. Within this framework, it usually takes many years for an emerging technology to be adopted by the majority (CIO). One way to determine whether the move into the new technology is right for an organization is to observe the early adopters. Even if they are in a different industry, there may still be applicable use cases and knowledge to be gained. It is important to create a detailed list of ways the technology can benefit the business from the perspective of each business area and process that could be affected. Lastly, the organization needs to look at their own risk allowance and determine whether the benefit exceeds the risk and the possibilities of what could go wrong. The sooner an organization adopts a technology, the greater the competitive advantage (if the technology succeeds). Similarly, the earlier an organization adopts a technology, the greater the risk is of having the technology fail to live up to expectations.


Can you cite any examples of an organization adopting what was supposed to be a disruptive technology, but having it fail? Or having it wildly succeed thereby propelling the company forward?

What do you foresee as the next disruptive technology that every organization will need to use to stay competitive?


Snap Spectacles: New-Market Disruption

Snap inc. (Snapchat) is climbing up the ranks as one of the largest social media companies in the world. Last year, Snap introduced a new product to the market called Spectacles. When you click a button on the Spectacles, they record a 10-second video and wirelessly upload it to your story. The Spectacles are competing against non-consumption, and they set a different performance measure which is accessibility.  They are against non-consumption because even though people wear sunglasses, there are none with this technology available. Spectacles also emphasize on accessibility because they give people the ability to record on Snapchat without even taking out their phones. According to Christensen, this defines the characteristics of a new-market disruption.

Google was the last company who made an attempt at “smart glasses”, but they failed because people didn’t see a need, and this is a great example of how new-market disruptions may not always work out. Snapchat has given people the ability to get more creative with their videos, and the Spectacles have been quite successful with only two simple features: video recording and wireless uploading. 


Based on what we learned from Christensen, would you agree that this is a new-market disruption? 

Do you know any other companies that have a similar product and were not successful?

The Internet was the Last New Market Disruptive Innovation

the internet photo

When my Dad graduated High school in the early 1970s he went to work for a company that sold encyclopedias. When he first started the set was sold for $600 which with inflation would equate to nearly $2600 today. That was the price of having convenient knowledge before the internet made the same knowledge essentially free, and accessible from nearly anywhere. The internet transformed a whole group of people who before did not have the ability or wealth to access this same knowledge conveniently from non-consumers into consumers. This is the main identifier of a New-market disruptive innovation according to Christensen, and is the reason why the internet is the latest example of this type of disruption. Much like the telephone 100 years earlier the internet transformed the world and the way it operated and communicated. It gave birth to several industries that would not exist without it, and much of what we do today both in our personal and professional lives would be vastly different, or impossible without the internet’s disruptive innovation. No other innovation since the internet fully meets the criteria of a new-market disruptive innovation, and that is why it is the last new market disruptive innovation, and may stay that way for some time. 

Uber: Disruptive Innovation or Just Innovation?

taxi photoClayton Christensen recently commented that, while Uber is innovative, it doesn’t meet the criteria of a disruptive business, in that it didn’t originate in a low-end market and move upstream to higher value markets or create a new market where none existed. However, it seems that Christensen ignored the fact that Uber started out down-market when compared to traditional taxis. There were no requirements for drivers, they would arrive late, and were more costly than taxis. In general, they were simply lower quality. It wasn’t until Uber started to implement higher standards and gain a network in each city that its costs decreased while its quality increased. Today, Uber is arguably cheaper, faster, and a step-up in quality against taxis. With its gain in popularity, it can be said that it was able to move upstream to a higher value market.

Based on what we learned in class, would you say that Uber is a disruptive innovation to the taxi market? Or do you agree with Christensen on his stance that Uber is just an innovation? Why?

Why Clayton Christensen Is Wrong About Uber And Disruptive Innovation

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