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#YourCrowd is an initiative dedicated to the study of crowd behaviors and experiences, created and moderated by the strategy team at BaAM.

According to the Harvard Business Review: “'Disruption' describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses. Specifically, as incumbents focus on improving their products and services for their most demanding (and usually most profitable) customers, they exceed the needs of some segments and ignore the needs of others.

Entrants that prove disruptive begin by successfully targeting those overlooked segments, gaining a foothold by delivering more-suitable functionality—frequently at a lower price. Incumbents, chasing higher profitability in more-demanding segments, tend not to respond vigorously. Entrants then move upmarket, delivering the performance that incumbents’ mainstream customers require, while preserving the advantages that drove their early success. When mainstream customers start adopting the entrants’ offerings in volume, disruption has occurred.”

In a nutshell, Disruptive Innovation creates a new market / product / service and value network that challenges the status quo.

So, in this time of radical change, I connected with bestselling author Jim Harris to discuss how organizations can practice Disruptive Innovation to stay relevant to their customers and to grow their customer base.

What does Disruptive Innovation mean in the world of events, sports, and entertainment?

“When the world is predictable you need smart people. When the world is unpredictable you need adaptable people. Right now, businesses which base their success on hosting events with large crowds are under particular pressure to find alternative paths to achieving success. Those organizations – organizations like yours – need to rethink what it means to connect with those people.

They also need to take into account the choke points, or obstacles, that must be overcome – like creating a viable vaccine, producing and distributing it to scale. Organizations need to understand these choke points in order to get as aggressive as necessary to pivot to a new reality.”

What does an organization need to consider when pivoting?

“You may be familiar with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. I don’t believe that organizations can develop a constructive response to this pandemic and put Disruptive Innovation into practice until they get to the last stage, stage 5 and acknowledge and accept that the virus has changed everything about their business.”

How can companies get to Stage 5 and work through Acceptance?

“It’s not about focusing on the final stage and the resulting plan but rather getting to a place where the company is ready and prepared to accept that they need to do something different.

Various industries have had to change and adapt over the years. Organizations
can derive the lessons that help create the impetus for change.”

Can you share an example of how pivoting has created an impetus for change in our industry?

“I speak at and attend a lot of conferences. There is one that I typically attend in San Francisco that went virtual. Going virtual was not only a necessity but it created an opportunity and a new market for the conference as you have suggested. It meant that more people were able to attend. Not only was geography not a barrier to taking part but the price was much more affordable which allowed even more people to attend.

This particular conference provider has not only reached new customers – as suggested by your colleague Parul – by going virtual but, it has developed a whole new system of relationships – with digital providers and producers for example – and pivoted to make their event relevant and accessible to even more people!”

Jim Harris is a sought-after speaker and author of the #1 international bestseller Blindsided: How to Spot the Next Breakthrough that will Change Your Business.

Lucy Strong
is a member of the Strategy team at BaAM.

We know significant research efforts focus on fans and followers as individuals, but with #YourCrowd, we are tapping the brightest minds and broadening the dialogue to better understand factors at play when engaging larger audiences in real life or in digital life.

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