Peter Matthews, Nucleus
"There’s a lot of talk about 'disruptive brands' but I think it’s important not to confuse disruptive products with better ones, because better products aren’t necessarily disruptive."
Quote from Peter Matthews, founder and CEO of Nucleus, in an article on PhocusWire this week on disruption in the travel industry.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered on our site that week.
Better is not disruptive - take a step back to reflect on that and let it sink in.
Better is, hopefully, different to what has come before. It perhaps builds on previous developments or goes in a different direction, but has it really turned things on their head, is it groundbreaking?
As a mini case study we could look at the raft of new entrants in the corporate travel market and the investments they have attracted.
It’s certainly an interesting space and one ripe for improvement, or lots of little improvements, but you’d be hard put to describe any of those startups as - painful as it might be to their founders - "groundbreaking."
Often when more established companies address those little things, they make significant improvements, especially around the customer experience.
And that process can also be when it becomes obvious what is essentially a feature/bit of functionality, as opposed to what is genuinely a business idea.
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Tours and activities is another area where new entrants can rarely be described as disruptive.
Sure, they’re addressing a low-tech, very fragmented market and improving on those elements, but again, is that disruptive?
It’s helpful to look at a modern definition of innovation - a new idea or creative thoughts - for a more accurate picture of what’s going on.
Or, does it really matter? Should it all be dismissed as press release headline semantics?
Peter Matthews' article argues that it’s “the creative thinking behind the tech that is really revolutionary.”
So, where does that leave everyone in the travel industry - incumbents and new entrants?
His advice on taking a look outside your own box and assessing your strengths is obviously a good place to start.
It’s an acknowledgement that processes need to change, that others have overtaken you and adapted to newer channels where customers are now congregating.
And the idea of culture is crucial - that buy-in of everyone, from the top to the bottom of an organization, with a willingness to embrace change and take things forward.
Without it, you would be lucky to get off the starting blocks.
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