What Disruption Actually Looks Like In A Mature Market
How one inventor is innovating faucet design to disrupt complacent markets, and what you can learn from him for ultimate success.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
We've all had to scoop water from our faucets, into our mouths (and all over the counter) to rinse our mouths after brushing. Or laid our heads sideways on the counter to attempt to get a quick sip of water before bed. Which begs the question, why hasn't someone designed something better?
Complacent markets are complacent for a reason, and that is because change costs money. Especially when we are talking about mature product markets, because once the requirements change, patents are necessary, and ultimately, the "old school" barrier to entry in business returns. Unless you get resourceful, find some kickass support, and aren't afraid to get your hands dirty, something new isn't likely to happen from within.
Going Broke Isn't An Option for Every Entrepreneur
Endless funding, access to patent attorneys, and nonstop prototype editing just isn't reality for most entrepreneurs reading this right now, or hoping to disrupt a mature market. That means, first of all, you're competing with giants, and second of all, you'll have to get scrappy, something inventor Steve Waddell from Nasoni knows all about.
Tenacity is Underrated When Partnered With Honesty
Steve is one of the most tenacious people I've ever talked with or interviewed, something he has learned to balance with honesty about where he's going. This perfect storm of a continuous push forward, along with the honesty to be able to pivot when necessary is essentially what we call innovation now. Without the honesty and ability to pivot, that innovation and tenacity quickly becomes stubborn pride or ignorance of your market capacity, which eventually equals complacency. With that honesty, the world becomes your oyster and markets begin to break their complacency cycles.
Why Is Tenacity Important?
When you decide, as Steve did, to disrupt a mature market, your reinvention will be met with two very different viewpoints, most often simultaneously. If the opinions are coming from the right audience, there might be something to consider, but if they aren't, that unwelcome, well-intentioned, fearful, advice is damaging.
- Wow, it's about time! There will be plenty of people, usually not attached to the market you are disrupting that will be delighted at the genius change you are bringing about. They see the potential in the change and can easily see how they might benefit from the features, upgrade, etc.
- Been there, done that. And then, there are the "been there, done that" group, who, no matter what you present, will always resist change. You have to be careful when it comes to taking advice, especially in the early stages, because all advice isn't created equal.
Watch Consumers Slow Down As Markets Kick Into Overdrive
Steve set out to create the fine Italian sports car of faucets. His tagline prompts you to 're-think what your faucet can do for you', with a heavy focus on both features and design. Side prediction: We will see this trend continue heavily in 2018- focus shifting back, from cost and accessibility, to functionality and design. Consumers are in less of a hurry, they want what they want, they want it to work, and they want flawless design, like the Nasoni faucet.
Drawing Attention to the Story
As Steve heads into the KBIS market, where he hopes to win best-in-show, commitment letters of intent from hotels and faucet manufacturers, and commission opportunities, he has his work cut out for him. His prep work has been focused on legitimizing his work thus far, and telling a story that resonates because the faucet market has remained unchanged for so long. Whether we are talking about crickets or a faucet, the story is the buy-in, still.
Your Team Will Make or Break You
Speaking of stories that connect us, Steve tells the same story as so many disruptors, of paying thousands of dollars for a slightly better prototype and plenty of wasted time. With technology sitting front and center going into the New Year, there are so many options to save time, money, and to get the most bang for your design buck. But, you have to be paired with the right people in order to take advantage of what the market has to offer. If you think bootstrapping means you'll do it all on your own, you'll fail.
There are plenty of mature markets, ripe for disruption, and you just might be the visionary to make it happen. Dreaming big will take on new meaning this year, as we blend business, design, resources, and technology in a way that will create the most meaningful and productive business landscape yet.