The interesting concept known today as “disruptive innovation” was made popular by Harvard Business School professor, Clayton Christensen. Disruptive here means radical change.
A disruptive innovation is one which substantially alters processes, fundamentally flaws hitherto correct assumptions and dramatically changes market tastes and preferences. Before the coming of internet for instance, banking was entirely brick and mortar. Growing up, I watched people line up for hours on-end with tally numbers in their hands as they waited their turn in often very long queues in the banking halls. Then eventually when they get to the cashier, he brings out the ledger, makes several traces to confirm the customer’s account number and then records a deposit. In those days, it was impossible to retrieve your deposit in a different physical location, save your own branch of the bank. Today, you can make all your payments without carrying one naira cash. The innovation that made real-time banking possible was the invention of the internet. That is disruptive innovation.
Disruption creates new markets by discovering new categories of customers. This can result from harnessing new technology, but more often they are the result of an emerging new model of business that is different from what is known in the market. Social media networking created an entirely new market segment and it is redefining communication, traditional media communication, broadcasting and even marketing. That is disruption.
Innovation does not necessarily have to be a landmark causing fundamental changes. Very often, innovation comes in little pieces, incremental improvements and minor adjustments that increase efficiency, drive down cost, shorten process turn-around-time or increase turnover. Any innovation that does not achieve any of the four above is of no use.
“Innovation comes in little pieces; incremental improvements and minor adjustments that increase efficiency, drive down cost, shorten process turn-around-time or increase turnover. Any innovation that does not achieve any of the four above is no use.” Innovation results frequently from a set of learnable skills. These are the key attributes of very innovative individuals:
* Innovators are problem-lovers. For them, a problem is an opportunity for progress.
* They question conventional wisdom
* They practice associative thinking
* They research to link the dots
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