Friday, November 1, 2002

Disrupt and Prosper

Optimize Magazine: Disrupt and Prosper, by Clayton Christensen, Mark Johnson, and Jeremy Dann

Disruptive innovations—usually championed by new market entrants—have proven to be the genesis of major waves of growth in a wide array of industries, from information technology to transportation. For established companies to become successful at disruptive innovation, they’ll need to develop robust, repeatable processes aimed at identifying, screening, and shaping disruptive-business ideas into growth engines (see “The Seismic Impact Of Technology,” February, p. 20).

As executives trained in both technology and strategy, CIOs are uniquely positioned to be change agents and aid in the business optimization required to achieve this type of innovation. CIOs can play a key role in developing and effectively applying the critical processes necessary to embrace and prosper from disruptive innovation.

A good article that reads like a companion piece to Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma. Here, they’re really addressing how CIOs can help identify where companies need to focus their innovation efforts before it’s too late. The natural tendency, of course, is to focus on the cash cows – and that’s when the competitors are sharpening their offerings.

I like the idea expressed late in the article that companies should have disruptive teams – whose goal it is to collect ideas, flesh them out into business plans, and then explore whether they offer realistic opportunities to expand the business. This is a model that should work regardless of what business you’re in – make sure that some group of individuals is tasked with finding ways of putting you out of business. (Surely your competitors are trying to do the same thing – so better if you’re doing it yourself first, right?)

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