Disruptive Innovation

It’s time to decide—Are you disruptive influence or just being disrupted?  Hopefully the former since these seem to be the true innovators—the gamechangers in retailing, technology and other industries.

My friend Robin Lewis, a longtime consultant, a professor of professional studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology and publisher of The Robin Report, recently held a seminar in New York with the Fashion Group International Forum featuring some of the most disruptive innovators in the business—companies like HSN (the old Home Shopping Network for the uninitiated), online eyewear retailer Warby Parker and Rent the Runway, a company that rents everything from haute couture to bling.

True they are not in the food business. But they and others are good examples of what’s been termed “disruptive innovation” and there are lessons to be learned from business models that threaten the status quo—these are the “first movers” and early adopters.

There are plenty of them in the food business. Amazon home delivery is giving people fits; Walmart is not the disrupter it used to be but probably will be again; Whole Foods, Mariano’s, Aldi, Trader Joe, Dollar General, Costco and the new generation of food trucks which seem to be the harbingers of consumer tastes. The list goes on. But keep an eye on the disrupters in other industries. They may see something you don’t!

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