• Peter Attwood

Disruptive Innovation

Updated: May 8, 2019

What has disruptive innovation got to do with me?

Perhaps your business has so far been spared damage of the kind Netflix has inflicted on video stores, Uber has rent on the taxi industry, or Amazon is causing retailers.

However, it is wise to be pro-active rather then reactive, and anticipate change rather than be at the effect of it. So, the questions we need to ask ourselves are:

• Am I ‘change adept’?

• Have I developed an intrapreneur friendly environment—so we think like a start-up?

Certainly, reading Christensen and Glaveski,* who have both done considerable work on disruptive Innovation, it is clear that many of our larger, more established companies are locked in a paradigm that inhibits and discourages new thinking.

• Do we ‘painstorm’, by identifying pain points, issues to be resolved, or assumptions underlying key problems?

• Do we walk in our customers shoes and really understand their business?

• Are we willing to experiment, and accept failure as a necessary way to learn, grow and protect our business?

Often, we are too attached to the ways things are, to challenge the status quo, to take calculated risks, and to question our current processes.

• Am I willing to risk who I am for whom I could become?

• Am I willing to see industry threats as opportunities?

Innovation needs to be holistic, and ongoing, with a longer-term time frame. Christensen emphasises the alignment of Values, Resources and Processes to support innovation. Margins and revenue can often be lower when developing an innovation, so we can’t use traditional financial measures to evaluate effectiveness.

CISCO’s CEO John Chambers in his HBR article on Staying ahead of Technology Shifts, (May 2015) talks about the necessity to be bold, with a resilient culture, and an appetite for change. He identifies three ways their company adapts to change:

• If they see a shift early enough they develop new technology in-house through their R & D

• Through acquisitions, and they have had 174

• Using a ‘spin in’—–assembling some engineers and developers to work on a specific project outside the company—-rather like a start-up.

So how can leaders move down this path to be ‘change adept’ or ‘innovation ready’?

Here are six pointers to spur you on:

• Setting some common ‘stretch’ goals

• Becoming skilled at retaining good people, and

• Sharing and building knowledge and networks across your organisation

• Your team and your customers can often hold the key to your next innovation, so it is about asking exploratory question, remaining curious, and being prepared to take a risk.

• It is also about communicating long term strategies effectively to shareholders, and

• giving leaders who do show foresight, time to build and execute a long-term strategy.

Are you willing to jump in?

‘The cost of doing nothing is far greater than the cost of doing something’ J.F Kennedy.

• Steve Glaveski Innovation Manager’s Handbook • Clayton Christensen Disruptive innovation.

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