What is the Difference between Disruption and Innovation

What is the Difference between Innovation and Disruption?

Disruption is often confused with innovation, however there is a very succinct difference between the two terms. We think of it as a practise, process, product or service that transforms an existing market, normally taking a significant portion of the market. On the other hand, an innovation is defined as “the introduction of something new” (Source: Miriam-Webster.com). An innovation is a new idea, method, service or device. Therefore, an innovation may or may not be a disruption.

Suggested Reading: The Caribbean is Ripe for Disruption

According to Clayton Christensen, professor and disruptive innovation expert, disruptive innovation is  “the phenomenon by which an innovation transforms an existing market or sector by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability…”  A disruption usually entails innovation but not all innovations are disruptions. Christenson further goes on to say “Disruption describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses”. Disruption occurs “when mainstream customers start adopting the entrant’s offerings in volume”. He expounds this in an article published in The Harvard Business Review in 2015. We have included the link to the article in our references below.


Test Your Knowledge

Which of the following companies caused a disruption?

A) NCB Financial Group (JSE: $NCBFG)

B) GraceKennedy Limited (JSE : $GK)

C) Lasco Manufacturing (JSE : $LASM)

Leave your responses in the comments below or tweet us @cvijamaica

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If you wish to read further on this topic, please feel free to use any of the links below. We have attempted to use scholarly sources to support our simplification.

Christenson, C. (1997). The Innovator’s Dilemma. Retrieved from https://www.christenseninstitute.org/key-concepts/disruptive-innovation-2/

Christenson, C.M. (2015). What is Disruptive Innovation?. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved at file:///C:/Users/620079586/Downloads/Disruptive%20Innovation.pdf

Barnaby, J. (2018, February 2). Lasco Financial Forms New Loans Subsidiary as Business Triples. The Gleaner. Retrieved from


Jamaica Stock Exchange. (2017, August 8). Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE)- Blockchain Technology. Retrieved from


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