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Unique experiences: disruptive innovations offer customers more “time well spent”

David W. Norton (Founded Stone Mantel, a consultancy that advises companies on producing brand experiences (
B. Joseph Pine II (Co‐founded Strategic Horizons LLP and co‐authored The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage and Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want (

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 6 November 2009




This paper, written by leading brand experience consultants, aims to describe how disruptive innovation occurs for experience offerings.


The paper presents a case study review of major disruptive experience innovators over the past 30 years.


The paper reveals that, different from manufacturers of goods and deliverers of services, experience stagers who were successful in disrupting their markets did not focus on the functional job to get done or on convenience. Instead, they concentrated on the emotional and social jobs to get done and on increasing time well spent by the customer.

Practical implications

Companies seeking to create meaningful experiences for their clients should not focus primarily on functional innovation and convenience. Companies should invest more in understanding the emotional and social jobs customers want to get done, creating the proper sequence of events that stages the experience, and delivers on promises made.


This paper extends the theories developed by Clayton Christensen on disruptive innovation, by offering companies three key new rules to consider when offering unique experiences.



Norton, D.W. and Pine, B.J. (2009), "Unique experiences: disruptive innovations offer customers more “time well spent”", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 4-9.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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