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Disruptive technology meaning

We may often hear about the technological innovations that disrupt certain industries and legacy business processes. Yet not all the new tech can be called disruptive. So what exactly is the meaning of disruptive technology? Let’s find out.

Disruptive technology meaning

Meaning of disruptive technology

Disruptive technology is one that completely replaces the traditional ways of doing business, serving consumers, or performing certain routine tasks within the industry. Being tangibly superior to the preceding methods and habitual operations, such an innovation revolutionizes the process, making it faster, simpler, and more efficient.

As a rule, disruptive technology creates a whole new market with different values. Therefore, it is usually created by fresh startups rather than established market-leading companies. 

Disruptive technology examples

From a historical perspective, today’s everyday objects such as cars, phones, and even light bulbs were disruptive innovations at the time, quickly squeezing their old-fashioned competitors (horses, telegraph and candles) out of the market.

With time, once disruptive technology may also become outdated. Thus, traditional phones were substituted by mobile phones and wearables, PCs are massively abandoned for the sake of laptops, tablets and even smartphones, while instant messaging services are overarching e-mails even in business communication. 

As for the new disruptive technologies, innovations currently causing a profound break with previous patterns include artificial intelligence (AI), big data, biosensors, quantum computing, etc.