Idea in Brief

The Problem

Innovation driven by disruption generates a new market and growth, but often with terrible social costs: the destruction of existing companies and jobs and damage to communities.

The Explanation

Most innovators have taken for granted that the surest path to growth is creating a new market by destroying the existing one. That overlooks an alternative approach to innovation that doesn’t disrupt the existing industry.

The Solution

Nondisruptive creation occurs outside the boundaries of existing industries, giving rise to markets where none existed before. Thus it fosters economic growth without incurring social costs, enabling business and society to thrive together.

The era of international travel began in the mid-19th century, with the golden age of transatlantic ocean-going. The British company Cunard, a leader in the industry, transported millions of immigrants from Europe to the United States around the turn of the 20th century. By the end of World War II it had emerged as the largest Atlantic passenger line, operating 12 ships to the United States and Canada as it captured the flourishing North Atlantic travel market in the first postwar decade.

A version of this article appeared in the May–June 2023 issue of Harvard Business Review.