As a society we have made things complicated. If you take a stroll down the condiment aisle in your grocery store you will find a section devoted to pickles, mustard, and barbeque sauce. As consumers, we must be fortunate to have so many options and varieties. Once you arrive at the mustard section in your grocery store you will find Yellow mustard, Brown mustard, and Dijon mustard. After several minutes we decide on a mustard and move on the next mind wrenching food decision. Once we get home we start up the barbeque and grill the regular hot dogs and vegan hot dogs. We then slather the dogs in mustard and think while we enter a food coma. Would I have been happier if I chose Guldens Spicy Brown Mustard? I wonder if this hot dog would have tasted better on Martin’s Potato Rolls? Everyday, we as consumers are being bogged down by too many decisions. From fast food restaurants to grocery stores to dating apps we are overwhelmed with choices. Having many choices is great, but it also leads us to question our decision making. Would I have been happier if I chose the alternative?
Disruptive innovation in business is the notion that technology can improve existing businesses by creating efficiency and changing established methods with new and improved methods. This is simplification through technological means. If something is easier, faster, and better, it will be adopted. Disruptive innovation happens without technology as well. For example, look at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
In a world that was oversaturated with fast food such as McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s an underserved portion of the market was created. The fast food behemoths that originally started with burgers branched out into other food realms to appeal to a bigger diverse group of customers. While menu expansion brought in more customers the quality of the original product had diminished, and the brands became far removed from their original purpose, Burgers. Five Guys went back to the basics. They decided that doing two things extremely well would be recognized and rewarded. Make high-quality burgers and fries. By simplifying their offering Five Guys was able to make economies of scale work for them. As sales increased costs decreased. Furthermore, the feeling of poor decision making was reduced substantially at Five Guys. The menu consisted of burgers, dogs, and sandwiches. If you visit a Five Guys you know what you are getting before you enter, and when you leave you know that you chose the right thing, because there were only a few choices. Going back to the basics, an exercise in simplification is the new disruptive innovation.