The importance of not being an imbecile - becoming a disruptive innovator

The French have a saying: “il n'y a que les imbéciles qui ne changent pas d'avis”. Translating loosely as “only fools don’t change their mind”, at first glance this might sound like the perfect excuse for those prone to the odd contradiction or ‘U-turn’. But what separates a business from its competitors is an ability to change the plan rapidly to respond to emerging requirements, technologies and customer insight to meet customers’ ever changing needs.

Disruptive innovation is nothing new for some of the world’s most recognised and profitable organisations. The Technology Big 5 (Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft) are worth over $3 trillion and have changed the way the world works, connects and communicates within a generation. Digital ‘startups’ such as Uber, Netflix, Spotify and Airbnb have outstripped traditional industry incumbents by developing dynamic business models, a fervent focus on usability and access, and high quality interactions. 

Generating disruptive innovations can be quick, but implementing them is often challenging and time consuming. It requires a business model which enables innovation to flourish, which can be expensive, need significant strategic investment and deep culture change, particularly in large organisations which have been operating in a set way for a long time. Disruptive innovation is no quick win.  

One of the techniques we use at Moorhouse to empower our clients to think beyond complex organisational barriers is Disruptive Innovation Visioning. With rapidly evolving technology, an uncertain economic climate and changing global political dynamics, no company can afford to be complacent. We do this by helping our clients develop the proposition and approach of a potential disruptive rival which would reposition their place in the market.

How does it work? Whilst the process is configurable, we recommend an initial 2-day concentrated programme which truly enables organisations to reimagine their purpose and grapple with market trends and opportunities. It includes four essential phases: 

  1. Disruptive strategy – creating the vision to outmanoeuvre competitors by developing genuinely original ideas which take into account industry challenges & projections.
  1. Disruptive business model – mapping out the ideal organisational structure and functions required to deliver the strategy, identifying potential challenges based on the existing business model.
  1. Innovation impact assessment – assessing the change required by comparing the current and target positions, and agreeing the practical steps to become a disruptive innovator whilst mitigating any potential adverse impact. 
  1. Disruptive action plan – recognizing the complexity of implementing changes needed to bring about disruption, it is important to agree a programme of transformation actions which can be quickly reprioritised to reach the desired results. Key here is ensuring organisations are set up to follow through with their boldest ideas.

Disruptive Innovation Visioning provides a framework to help our clients stay ahead in a rapidly changing global system and spot new opportunities. The outcomes of this structured approach include new transformative ideas, reimagined ways of doing things, refocused understanding of mission, value and purpose, and a structure to support them implement their changes. 

Because if you’re not ready to become a disruptive innovator, your competitors surely will.

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