If you want innovation, learn to be disruptive, everyone else seems to be.
Innovation versus disruption and you’re in the middle
Innovation is less a process of unbridled creativity than one of natural selection of the best ideas and opportunities.
Somewhere along the way to better innovation, the word disruption seems to crop up. Why? Because so many businesses, non-profit organisations and communities don’t think too much about innovation unless there is a crisis or disruption to their comfort zones. It also crops up when you talk about taking something from a blurred vision to reality.
The theory of disruptive innovation has proved to be a powerful way of thinking about innovation-driven growth. Many small, entrepreneurial enterprises praise it as their guiding star; so do many large, well-established organisations.
Disruption is, if not bad, is certainly dangerous if you are on the receiving end. Businesses, non-profit organisations and communities all seem to fall victim to the blind spots in their business models and refuse to innovate in ways that would reduce their existing income streams and improve their performance.
What each new business model represents isn’t just an improvement on what came before it, but an entirely new approach. This breaks the old business models and the old way of doing things.
Many people think that innovation happens by sitting around with a few mates and letting great innovative ideas just pop into the head. Or, customers tell them exactly what they need, and they just have to build it.
Don’t be a dreamer, those sources have little chance of bearing fruit. Innovation is often a difficult and complicated process with few shortcuts.
“Want to change the world? Upset the status quo? This takes more than run-of-the-mill relationships. You need to make people dream the same dream that you do”. Guy Kawasaki
Who can help you as a source of innovation and disruption
First, we need to consider what a proposed disruption would cause and secondly who can either:
- Help you with new innovations to counter the disruption, or
- Help you to cause the disruption and its impact on competitors.
Seek to establish partnerships with people and organisations who can contribute to you innovation process and improve your value chain.
Don’t be afraid to use the ideas you have.
Never be afraid to create and implement your own innovations. After all, you are as a small enterprise close to your customers and able to see the threats and opportunities in your local marketplace.
Change the conversations you are having with the people you mix with and seek the help of your customers. Collaborative innovation can be the quickest and most effective.
Don’t be embarrassed, your innovation ideas could, with a little help, capture the world.
Where you get the knowledge to help with innovation?
The Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are a powerful force for innovation and disruption of old ways of doing businesses. In order to capture this powerful source, you will need to set up some policies and processes.
Disruptive innovations are made possible because they get started in two types of markets that the existing businesses overlook. Opportunities exist because existing businesses typically try to provide their most profitable and demanding customers with ever-improving products and services, and they pay less attention to less-demanding customers.
“You can dream, create, design, and build the most beautiful place in the world, but it requires people to make it a reality”. Walt Disney
In fact, the offerings of existing businesses often overshoot the performance requirements of the less demanding customers with correspondingly higher prices. This opens the door to a disrupter focused enterprise to ‘join up the dots’ and provide those low-end customers with an acceptable product and win their support will good service.
Other disruptors create a market with their innovation where none existed previously. They find ways to turn non-consumers into consumers through innovative practices.
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Never be complacent. Small competitors that nibble away at the periphery of your business very likely are ignored until it is too late. If they are on a disruptive innovation trajectory, they are a potentially a mortal threat.
I have seen lots of innovation in smaller businesses that could make a real difference to their future. Unfortunately, they don’t do the research and therefore do not value their innovations very highly.
My advice is that if you think you have some innovations that have not been acted upon, seek some advice as to their value and how you can commercialise the. You may think you have enough working capital to support and commercialisation, but don’t worry there is always money available for good ideas that are well thought out.
By the way, don’t overlook the need to protect your Intellectual Property.