Tag Archives: Clay Christensen

3 Key Criteria of Disruptive Innovation

Just a few hours before sitting down to write this post I was in a meeting were a group of people pitched themselves as disruptive, they aren’t, but people on the other end of the table soaked it all in. Why? One, the misconception and another is disruption is good PR, there isn’t a day that goes by where some new upstart describes itself or is described as disruptive.

The truth is not all innovation is disruptive. How can you tell what has the potential to be disruptive?

Disruptive innovation theory in 15 tweets

What is disruption? Many believe that disruption is innovation. Truth is, what many believe to be disruptive really isn’t. First of all, nobody deliberately sets out to be disruptive; it happens after the fact.

To bring some clarity to the subject, Marc Andreessen wrote up a tweetstorm where he explains Clayton Christensen’s disruptive innovation theory in 15 tweets:

Why do we fall prey to theories of success?

Why do we fall prey to theories of success?

Theories of success intrigue us because they provide a shortcut. But in following the herd, we deprive ourselves from developing and expressing our originality.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how people and businesses aren’t really obsessed with disruption per se, rather they are in love with theories of success. Silver bullet ideas that you can use to shortcut your way to “success”, theories that become hardened after “supposedly” observing them in the environment.

Recently, another success theory has been shot down: Malcolm Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hour rule.

Future-proofing: Asking questions that anticipate great challenges

This is a short post, but I really want to bring attention to this issue because uncertainty is the norm, and we all have to deal with it. How do we do that?

There is no right answer.

But, to start, we have to be conscious about it. Then, we have to make an effort to look at what isn’t there and formulate what could be. To do this, we can start by asking better questions. This is the same dilemma Clay Christensen was in when he was studying disruption. Because he knew that a primary task of leadership is asking questions that anticipate great challenges, to be able to help business leaders better deal with uncertainty and its many challenges, he had to start asking better questions himself.

So, here’s how he figured out how to start asking better questions (last paragraph):