Why Do We Care about Disruption?
Scott Anthony responds to that question in an article written for the Harvard Business blog. To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Daily Alerts, please visit email@example.com.
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The other week, two of my colleagues were engaged in a fierce debate about whether a particular business was or not in fact “disruptive.” When they asked my opinion, I surprised them by answering, “I don’t really care.”
“But we’re all about disruptive innovation aren’t we?” one of them asked.
“Well yes,” I replied, “but we’re all even more about building successful, sustainable, scalable businesses.”
It’s natural to think that our sole raison d’être is disruption. Innosight’s co-founder Clayton Christensen coined the term “disruptive technology,” and we’ve built a business around putting Christensen’s and related academics’ work into practice.
But the academic research and our applied fieldwork really isn’t about disruptive innovation, business model innovation — or even innovation. Disruption is a means to an end. The goal is to build a sizable business with defensible competitive advantage that earns attractive returns. It just so happens that the disruptive innovation models and tools provide a great means to foster the creation of businesses that transform companies and markets, unlocking substantial value for shareholders, employees, and customers.
Adapting a disruptive mindset allows you to see opportunities that would otherwise be hidden. The suite of business model tools that my colleague Mark Johnson describes in his book, Seizing the White Space, allows you to blueprint and build a sustainable model to seize that opportunity.
These models and approaches don’t change the fundamentals of business. Remember:
• You have to find an itch that hasn’t been scratched.
• You have to create a unique and defensible way to seize the opportunity.
• You have to find a way to make money.
• You have to line up partners, suppliers, and distributors to support your business together.
• You have to fend off hungry competitors.
Don’t forget these fundamentals in the pursuit of disruptive innovation. After all, if it turns out your idea doesn’t meet the technical definition of disruption but it creates billions of dollars of new growth, no one will complain.
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Scott Anthony is the Managing Director of Innosight Ventures. Scott has written three books on innovation, the latest being The Silver Lining: An Innovation Playbook for Uncertain Times.
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To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Daily Alerts, please visit firstname.lastname@example.org.