Is Uber a Breakthrough Innovation or Disruptive Innovation?

Uber's Slogan: "Everyone's Private Driver"

Uber’s Slogan: “Everyone’s Private Driver”

Such companies like Uber strive to disrupt the market from the bottom and eventually move up the market. However, does Uber conform to the characteristics of disruptive innovation? We all know that taxi and limousine companies in every city Uber has entered are trying to ban its existence.

Though disruptive innovation allows the greatest chance to create explosive growth and transform markets, disruptive innovation is not a breakthrough innovation, as Clayton Christensen has said. Companies tend to innovate faster than their customer’s need evolve and too often they create products that are too sophisticated, which does not get the customer’s job done. In order for the product or service to disrupt a market, creators need to address a certain pain that most people go through. However, not just any pain, but the kind of pain that almost anyone is itching to get rid of.

Based on my personal observations and experiences with Uber, the company seems to do well in getting people’s job done faster. People in busy, fast paced cities such as New York where cabs are almost always taken in the midst of traffic must have felt their frustrations subside knowing that Uber is there to help. Nonetheless, there’s nothing special about what Uber has built.

Uber doesn’t provide their own vehicles and rely on people who has a car and a license. In addition, riders can track the location of their dispatched drivers using GPS and pay directly on their phones. Essentially, Uber uses existing resources and compiles it into an app, which is accessible to anyone who has internet access and a smartphone.

Bottom line: Uber’s service is not a breakthrough innovation, yet it allows more people to have easier access to cabs.

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