The Stages of Disruption

Disruption is described as a disturbance or problem that interrupts an event, activity or process. However, the disruption could also be described as part of the problem-solving process. Steven Sinofsky broke down the four levels of disruption:

Phase One: Disruption of Incumbent

When a new product, service or technology becomes available, a moment of disruption occurs. Be aware that denial may be part of this stage as disruption often means using inferior and more expensive technologies. Sinofsky’s advice is to search for evidence to back your disruption.

Phase Two: Rapid Linear Evolution

Once that new product, service or technology begins rapid adoption, it’s time to focus on “filling out” the product. During this phase, the disruptors continue to follow their vision and continue to innovate.

Phase Three: Appealing Convergence

Sinofsky describes this phase as the point when the new product starts to undergo a subtle redefinition. The early adopters described in phase two are now a maturing group and develop a sense of stability.

Phase Four: Complete Reimagination

The last stage of disruption occurs when the technology is reimagined from the ground up. It may seem like just another disruption, but remember, it is a unique stage because of responses from the legacy incumbent and disruptor.

Do you think these four stages cover the process of disruption?

Leave a Comment