The Ugly Truth About Innovation and Disruption

Flowchart on a chalk board with world globe

It is said that in the investment world, Disruption and Innovation literature is something that resembles fast food. It tastes great, but has little substance and the money spent on it is regretted because it never improves anyone’s disposition.

The sad truth when it comes to innovation is that a number of business books written on the topic do little to address what it really takes to be innovative but instead explain ways of becoming rich by buying real estate and investment properties. There are various issues that hinder companies from really being innovative and a business book titled, ’10 steps to a more innovative or disruptive company’ is not going to encompass all of them. Yet every executive strives to learn the secret recipe that will whip up a trend setting company with various innovative products to keep their competitors on their heels and be the industry leader for strategic product development.

Dan Maycock has recently published a book on how to be disruptive and innovative effectively after he encountered hundreds of businessmen who envisioned becoming disruptive in a short matter of time but were in fact doing it completely wrong. Spending money on white boards and clear glass conference rooms after attending a TED seminar on disruption is not going to make a company more innovative.

Dr. Clayton Christensen has addressed why start-ups run differently to large corporations in regards to innovation and other scholars have completed ground breaking research on how to assist companies in responding better to disruptive industry ecosystems. They explain that it takes considerable investment and takes multiple repetitions to be disruptive. Unfortunately most companies cannot maintain the motivation to keep moving and stay ahead of the pack and fall into conformity and efficiency once they have found their meal ticket. To do something better means you are innovative more than once. It becomes the core of the business and a lack of structure becomes the new normal. The new focus must be centered on a trend or an idea that won’t go out of style, instead of the company’s current products and services.

Dan Maycock refers to Amazon to make his point. Most would say it’s a technology company, but if you ask Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, he would say the focus of Amazon is selling and shopping. Technology is just a means to an end. It is essential to think of a company as something bigger than the products or services it distributes. It must connect people or transport people, and it must never go out of style regardless of technological, social and economic changes.

To get good at being disruptive you have to fail so that you can grow something bigger, faster and stronger. You must be in a constant state of survival and remain in a competitive mind frame. A company must be flexible and focus on how to bend and flex in new areas while withstanding the types of economic shifts that put 90% of start-ups out of business. It’s no easy task, which makes it the ugly truth most innovation books fail to recognize, but it’s critical to staying ahead.

Source: The Ugly Truth about Social Media by Dan Maycock