Remember golf before Tiger Woods?
Actually it’s quite hard to do.
Tiger Woods changed everything.
Here are the old ‘rules of the game’ of golf:
– Dominated by white men
– Seen as an old man’s game
– Old-fashion rules around dress sense for example
– Players were fit for 18 holes of golf but not for other sports
– Limited television ratings except for the majors
– The game appealed to golfers only
– Mainly played in America and Europe
– Little innovation in golfing equipment
Now consider golf today or the ‘new rules of the game’ as a result of Tiger:
– The best player was African – American (i.e. he looked different)
– Golf is now a young person’s game — the 3 dominant players are all under aged 28.
– It’s a cool game attracting sponsors like Nike for example
– Players can and do express their individuality in their clothing, style, manner — they have become their own brand e.g. Ricky Fowler
– Players today are world-class athletes
– Ratings are high whenever Tiger plays
– Golf is now a world game that rivals soccer or football e.g. Think of women’s golf in Korea
– Huge explosion in golf ball and club technology
– Suddenly people that had never considered golf were interested in the sport
I could go on:
This is why I believe that Tiger Woods is a great example of disruption in action.
Disruption used in this broader context must satisfy 3 conditions:
1. A complete departure from what has occurred in the past
2. It must change the rules of the game or start a new game e.g. Think Uber etc
3. The end result must be a significant improvement of what exists (e.g. Tiger Woods improved prize money dramatically, TV ratings, sales of golf equipment etc).
My point is this.
Anything can be disrupted by anyone, at any time.
It could be a product, process, industry, business model or customer experience.
It might involve a huge leap in technology e.g. Google or a minor one.
But disruption is not just a technology driven phenomenon.
This example also suggests that disruption can emerge from a single individual, a start-up team or an established business E.g. Apple.