Disruptive Innovation: Disrupt Your Own Business Innovation

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Clayton Christensen introduced the concept of disruptive innovation just less than 10 years ago. He described the process as rebelling against traditional innovation--you know, instead of "improving" on exisiting technology by adding features (for example, instead of 4 blades, 5 blades; instead of mp3 player, mp3 player + FM radio player), he said true innovation comes from providing a product with lower costs, simpler features, and targeting an underserved market. In practice, a 8-track player wasn't eclipsed by a 9-track player. Sony's WalkMan disrupted the technology, and introduced an entire new market by lowering costs and features. That product, then wasn't overthrown by a WalkMan + USB cable; the CD player disrupted it. Then, the mp3 player disrupted that. Now, Apple's iPod is the king of the hectic jungle of innovation. If you want ot build an innovation factory, don't focus on improving on existing technology. Somewhere, somebody is trying to disrupt your successful technologcal "breakthrough/" To combat it, disrupt your own technology. Make it obsolete. Of course, don't kill it off manually because that gives you some precious cashflow. Instead, let evolution take hold, and let it die naturally -- as your new disruptive innovator takes control of the market. When you do stop? Disrupting your products, systems, and processes is a never-ending cycle. Remember, all products--no matter how innovative--become obsolete.

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Posted on April 22

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