The Apple Watch: Disruptive Innovation or Dead Duck?

by | May 7, 2015

So, what do you think? Are you racing out to buy one? Have you got one on your wrist? Time will tell (!) if the Apple watch is a great example of disruptive innovation, or a time bomb waiting to happen. In Christensen's true sense of disruptive innovation, no-one was really pining for an Apple watch. Smart watches are a whole new category that in truth no-one wanted. Most people are happy with their existing watch, if they have one, and many are prepared to spend mega-dollars on show pieces.

So, where does the Apple watch fit in? Will it create a whole new category of smart watches in the market, and indeed put the traditional watch makers out of business? In the true form of disruptive innovation? Or will it just die?

Many are concerned about the issues that the Apple watch has. It needs to be recharged every night, for example. But if you believe Clayton Christensen, thats OK. And to be expected. New, low cost entrants in the market that indeed create new markets are often clunky at first, and have faults. Indeed, many such entrants, such as the phone camera, are often dismissed at first as being playthings that can never seriously take market share from the incumbent. But just look at where the phone camera is now. Why buy a point and shoot camera ever again when you can have almost the same quality, and sometimes better, from your mobile phone camera - for zero additional cost? And we can be certain that the next version of the watch is just off the drawing board going to manufacture, so some of the issues that people dislike today may be a thing of the past very soon.

We will see. I think the jury is out - however, the marketing and distribution engine of Apple is second to none, so don't underestimate their position as the most valuable company in the world. If any company can disrupt a marketplace, Apple certainly can.

S0 - are you going to buy one? If you are uncertain, here is the best review we have seen to date. It will help you make up your mind on whether you want to discard your traditional timepiece for what could be a historic transformation of a very, very old industry.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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