When small companies create and offer products that are similar, cheaper, and more easily accessible than the products of large companies, these small companies are doing a great service to people who cannot obtain or pay for the services that the large companies are offering at higher prices. This is disruptive innovation, and it is basically synonymous with ‘change’ and ‘improvement.’ While these smaller companies begin markets for their products, the larger companies are forced to improve their merchandise in some way to justify the higher prices and prestige and to compete with the smaller companies, whose offerings are much more appealing to the average consumer. It all boils down to the fact that the consumer typically has the control and runs the market, so to appeal to the majority of consumers (and thus to earn their patronage) is to succeed in business, and that is exactly what disruptive innovation sets out to do.
An example of disruptive innovation in my life was the production of teeth-whitening strips. Though my parents never cared enough to have their teeth professionally whitened regularly, my mother went once in her life, and the bill was outrageous, so she did not go again. As I grew up, I began focusing on different parts of myself to criticize, and my teeth became the center of attention at some point. People in movies and on television typically had straight, white teeth, and they looked so appealing to me, so I begged my mother to take me for a whitening appointment, and I was always told ‘no’ because the procedure was ‘too expensive.’ I do not remember exactly when teeth-whitening strips were made available, but I remember my mother offering to help me use them when I was in middle school, and she began to use them every few weeks. People around me – friends, family members, strangers – were starting to use these white strips, and I have no doubt that professional teeth whitening took some sort of a nose-dive in popularity. Anymore, I only hear of people using these whitening strips to lighten the color of their teeth – not by making an appointment with a professional, but by leaning against their bathroom counters and pressing gel-like films over their incisors and then waiting for thirty minutes. It is all too easy and very popular because it is affordable and simple. I do not use them much anymore, as the hydrogen peroxide causes extreme sensitivity in my teeth, but I am glad that they are available, and I am a huge proponent of disruptive innovation, even though its name arouses negative connotations.