When Jill Lepore, critiquing Clayton Christensen's The Innovator’s Dilemma in the New Yorker, queried his theory of disruptive innovation ("disrupt, and you will be saved"), some commentators felt she had a point.
But a theory of change proposed by Christensen back in 1997, the idea that companies will fail if they do not disrupt themselves, has found new life in the digital revolution.
There is little doubt that technological innovation and disruption have brought fundamental change to many industries; none more so, perhaps, than the media and entertainment industry. Long dominated by established studios, broadcasters and publishers, the digital age has been a supreme leveller. The rise of new platforms and distribution models means that the creation and distribution of content is no longer exclusively the domain of the established few.
Spotify, Netflix, Snapchat, YouTube, once flag-bearers for the start-up set, are now established household names in the global content business. But who are the innovators of tomorrow?
Hot on their heels are a new generation of entrepreneurs looking to be the next big thing. We highlight a number of these newcomers below:
To match the increasing consumption of video content, Smartzer is pioneering clickable video content allowing consumers to simply click on a product they like in a video to purchase it and then receive it within hours. Smartzer counts Marks & Spencer, Barbour and Land Rover as clients.
Users of the mobile app, Seenit, are sent notifications by an organisation asking for specific video footage for the user to capture. The user submits their footage back through Seenit's platform and, post-editing, the finished product can be pushed back out to the users who can share it on social media or with friends and colleagues. Platforms such as these are part of a wider trend of products and services designed to drive consumer engagement and participation with brands (the definition of which increasingly extends to individuals, such as musicians), and also, in Seenit's case, an employer's connection with their workforce.
Tech start-up Visualise harnesses the power of virtual reality and recently allowed fans to virtually experience a Kasabian gig, as well as create a VR music video. Immersive experiences also extend beyond VR. The successes of video-game producer, Glitchers, vary from the innovative Gumalon (a 'chew-controlled' game for Stride gum), to the philanthropic Sea Hero Quest (where data gathered is sent to Alzheimer's Research UK to help in the fight against dementia), to the highly-engaging chip shop simulator, Chippy.
History has been kind to Christensen's theory. If Smartzer, Seenit, Visualise and Glitchers continue to make waves then it's over to you, Mrs Lepore.
Abbas Lightwalla, associate specialising in media at Bird & Bird, also contributed to this piece.