“Disruptive” Innovation: Easier to define than “do”! Part 2 of 2

In Soren Kaplan’s book, Leapfrogging, he correctly says “Here’s the issue:  Disruptive innovation isn’t how innovation works in the real world when you’re in the process of doing it – only in retrospect by storytellers.” He rightly argues that you don’t set out to be “disruptive,” you set out to make something innovative. The scale and impact of that innovation is determined in the marketplace and only history will determine if the innovation was a game-changer.

So, using an automotive analogy, what innovators do is look out the windshield more than into the rear view mirror. Many readers know of the demise of what I call The Three B’s: Blackberry, Borders and Blockbuster or the rise of the Two A’s: Amazon and Apple. Few readers know about looking at what surfer’s call “outside”, of what it takes to see sets of waves that are coming and choosing the best wave in the best set.

In 2013, Beyond the Idea: How to Execute Innovation in Any Organization, Vijay Govindarajan became the most recent in a number of books that look at the end product of the innovation process: delivery and execution. (There are of course a commensurate number of books that look at the front end of innovation, the generating of creative ideas.)

But to my knowledge, no single book encompasses the innovator’s strategy, skills and tools needed to go from idea to implementation…from learning to swim…to staying stoked!

Perhaps the one book that informs Make Your Own Waves is Thomas Kuhn’s 1970 classic The Structure of Scientific Revolution. In it Kuhn argues that a “revolution” in science occurs when a new “paradigm” or world view comes along that can account for the “anomalies” of the prevailing paradigm while at the same time offering up a new structure for science, literally changing how we view the world. Hence Copernicus is replaced by Galileo, Galileo by Newton, and Newton by Einstein. And on it will go. What Kuhn offered that had previously been missing was a coherent description of the “process” and “structure” of science needed to signal a true “revolution."

Make Your Own Waves is unique in offering a process and a structure borrowed from an unconventional source--big wave surfing-- and inserted into the ever-changing world of the entrepreneur and innovator.

For more information on how to bring innovative thinking to fruition look here: Innovating for Results Training System