How to disrupt yourself — from by Greg Satell


However, disruptive innovation happens in the face of no such threat, but when things are going great. Operations are profitable, the needs of the most demanding customers are being met and the business press applauds the company’s thoughtful and visionary leadership.

Then comes along something like Google or Netflix or social media and everything is turned upside down.

That’s what makes disruptive innovation so dangerous and so interesting. It upends an existing order that seems to be working well. The reality is that incumbent firms tend to get better and [better] at things people care less about. Eventually, the basis of competition will change and old metrics of success become useless.

The biggest innovation pitfall is falling into the myth of the mad scientist. People often assume it comes from the work of a lone genius – a Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison – who works behind closed doors and then one day comes out and shouts “Eureka!”

In actuality, innovation is combination. It most often arises through active collaboration among people with diverse skills and perspectives. That’s why so few enterprises can do it effectively. Large organizations breed conformity, strong leaders encourage a singular vision and don’t like to incorporate ideas that are off-script.