Disruptive Innovationen

The term “disruptive innovation” was already coined in this article in 1995 and further described in this book by Clayton Christensen (reading tip!). The original definition reads:

“Disruption describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses”.

So it is mainly about smaller start-ups competing with established companies.

Why is this kind of innovation so difficult for established companies? Well, essentially, these companies have become successful by constantly developing a product further, often through additional variants and a variety of functions. In the disruptive process, these principles are overturned and the focus is directed towards the core functionality in order to be able to offer it at a significantly better price.

For established companies, this means challenging the status quo, rethinking and questioning their own already successful products. Even if it is possible to develop ideas that have a disruptive quality in a well-moderated workshop, the difficulties often start afterwards when the idea meets the organisation. Gunter Dueck aptly says: “Companies, like all systems, have an immune system that initially treats every new idea like a disruption”.

Many companies that see the potential of disruptive ideas have therefore switched to developing and testing them in smaller units outside the established structures. This is where the concept of the “incubator” has developed, i.e. a quasi incubator for start-ups that gives the founders the opportunity to develop their ideas independently of the corporate hierarchies.

Even if the implementation of ideas with disruptive potential seems difficult in established companies, it is more than sensible to regularly question oneself. A nice question for a corresponding workshop could be: “What would a start-up do that could drive our business model out of the market with a simple new idea?”

Why not give it a try!

With inspiring regards,
Christian Buchholz